Public Facilities Chief John Ricci Has Change Of Heart After Packing It In

John Ricci
John Ricci, CT Post photo

Update: Late last week Public Facilities Director John Ricci submitted his retirement papers. Monday morning he called OIB to share that he had a change of heart after what he describes as an outpouring of support urging him to stay. “I am humbled by the encouraging words of people who have asked me to stay,” says Ricci who was also encouraged to remain by Mayor Joe Ganim. So Ricci says he’ll remain on the job at least through the end of the year. “I’m almost 75 years old. I thought it was time for me to slow it down, but for the immediate future I am staying. I appreciate the support.” Ricci is also a key fundraising cog in Ganim’s campaign for governor.

Original story: In a surprise move Public Facilities Director John Ricci, a political survivor who has served in city administrations on multiple levels for the past 40 years, has submitted his retirement, effective in late June. Ricci was an early supporter of Joe Ganim’s return to the mayoralty after he had a falling-out with Ganim’s predecessor Bill Finch that led to Ricci’s termination as the long-serving airport manager in 2013. When Ganim returned to office December 1, 2015 he named Ricci a department head.

In political and government circles Ricci is well respected as both a canny operative and department head who knows how to go with the flow, be it Democratic or Republican administrations. Whether Ganim’s comeback as mayor or his now full-throttle run for governor, Ricci, in his 70s, has been a potent fundraiser, and to some an old-school political consigliere, to help maneuver the mayor’s agenda. He is a close ally of Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa.

Unknown who’ll replace Ricci as director of Public Facilities, a super agency that oversees sanitation, garbage pickup, street paving, plowing, parks, engineering and the airport. Joe Tiago is deputy director.

Ricci had also worked in Republican administrations of Lenny Paoletta and Mary Moran.

A half dozen political operatives in City Hall, who did not want to be identified, confirmed that Ricci has submitted his papers. OIB has reached out to Ricci for comment.

It’s unclear if Ricci just had enough of government and wants to kick back and collect his pension, or something else is at play. He earns a six-figure salary as a department head.



  1. John has dedicated a good portion of his life to the service of the city and his political party. He is a straight forward guy who gets the job done, and has done his job well. Even in retirement I am sure he will always be available to give advice and guidance when needed. I am wishing John much happiness and enjoyment in his retirement.

  2. I do not know John Ricci personally, though I have seen him in his role as director of ” Public Facilities, a super agency that oversees sanitation, garbage pickup, street paving, plowing, parks, engineering and the airport.” Included, but unmentioned, in the “super agency” are the municipal garage, the transfer station, FW golf course, Beardsley Zoo, recreation programs and Department of Aging. That’s a lot of personnel, policy, resources and politics to manage.

    Back in the day when I started reading City financial reports “for fun”, certainly not for profit, it appeared that Ricci’s Airport Management found a balance budget sweet sport where enough revenue came in to cover necessary expenses without property tax revenues. Well, that disappeared about 10 years ago and it operates at a loss annually.

    I am age contemporary with Ricci, more than 10 years past my 65th birthday. Funny, this week I got a notice about the weekly activities at the Black Rock Senior Center. Tai Chi at 9:45 AM on Monday, Zumba at 10:30 am on Tuesday (followed by Fall Prevention at 11:30?) and other activities in the middle of each day. I had heard that hours were 7-3pm daily, and went to the Center at 8AM on Wednesday. Not open. Resources not mentioned for Center. Perhaps PR is new? Of course, political outreach is “not new” for the personnel in the department. Perhaps “let’s talk over Coffee and Tea -(THE PERFECT TIME FOR LIKEMINDED INDIVIDUALS TO UNITE OVER COFFEE AND TEA AND DISCUSS CURRENT EVENTS)” becomes the time for local political bonding? Wonder if Black Rock has an opportunity for a new class offered, gratis, by yours truly, to fellow seniors? Perhaps I will hear from the Roach family on this offer? Time will tell.

    1. John, Mario Testa and Rose H. Hired Bonnie Roach
      For the Black Rock Senior Center, you have to check with Mario Testa, Rose Retired. just remember there’s no connections between the Roaches and Testa.

  3. John made a good choice. His budget was cut and no positions were filled. Ganim will keep hiring unskilled seasonal employees for 4months in a calander year. Leaving departments riddled with holes and people who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. Services will continue to decline. John wanted to change this but his voice fell on deaf ears. Enjoy your retirement John Ricci. You don’t need to deal with all the B.S. You will be missed! You read the handwriting on the wall!

  4. As a long time former friend of Mario I am ashamed of what he has turned into. He has thrown every thing and everyone away to get this little bastard the governors nomination for the democratic party. Mario has decided that old friends who wont go along blindly are not worth shit. Even though Mario has a big investment here in Bridgeport he does not care what happens to Bridgeport. When you see a long time democratic stalwart leave his job just before a primary you know there is something wrong.
    Mario if you are not reading this then Ralph or Lilly are. Mario take a step back from this little prick and realize he is not your friend and he has you losing friends and allies. I was a friend of yours for years, i have defended you forever on this blog. I cant
    do it any more you have turned into something I dont recognize or know.

      1. I saw changes in Mario that I did not like. He was not that enthusiastic about Ganim and in my opinion and mine only he sold his sole for this guy. I cant go there

      1. Well, you cn breathe easier. It wasn’t mecical. Mr. Ricci is in his seventies. He just wants to retire, collect his pension and spend time with his family. Joe Ganim and Nario Testa don’t give a shit, apparently.

  5. Well, I guess I will believe this when Mayor Ganim appoints a new head of Public Facilities.

    John Ricci certainly has the right to retire. He could certainly write a book or a Television series based on his life in and out of politics. He has had more than his fair share of front page news. He was a key player in the Moran Administration and served in many administrations .

    As Public Facilities director he certainly has the biggest and most demanding position in the city. Some may argue that fact. The number f personalities he has to deal with on a daily basis is amazing. Anyone that has witnessed Mr. Ricci in a staff meeting would agree he is a unique manager. Everyone on his staff is treated with dignity and respect. Everyone has an opportunity to voice their concerns and he follows though.
    Now John Ricci certainly could use a vacation as his job demands nearly 24 hour attention.If he really wants to fade away into the relaxing boredom of retirement. Good for him. If he believes he can enjoy a life of a daily ritual of social alienation I wish him the best. It would be like slamming on the brakes at 120 miles per hour.
    I was told a long time ago and just as recent as the other dy that we are all replaceable. I have always believed that to be a fact and there is no argument there. But there are individual characteristics that are not replaceable. I think Mr. Ricci will be terribly missed by his associates and

    I would hope the Mayor rejects any type of resignation. If it is accepted and the city loses a key manager. I will say Congratulations and best wishes John Ricci. Just remember, retirement is not for everyone and I personally think you are one of those men!

      1. How does one REJECT a resignation?
        Don’t we have free will to do as we please?
        I like John but wait until the dust settles before you agree or disagree with the terms of his resignation.

  6. “Ricci to stay on public facilities job another 6 months”

    BRIDGEPORT – Public Facilities Director John Ricci is still leaving, just six months later than he had expected. Ricci, as previously supported, submitted his resignation to Mayor Joe Ganim last week, effective June 22. In a phone interview Monday morning Ricci said the mayor’s refusal to accept his resignation, combined with an outpouring of support from staff, City Council members and the community, convinced him to stay through the year. “I’m very humbled, I gotta tell you,” Ricci said. …

  7. Ricci is staying because Ganim and Mario asked him to. It would look bad if the head of the largest department leaves before the primary. If anyone thinks that Ganim really gives a shit about Ricci then you believe in the tooth fairy. Ricci true to form will go out as a Ganim boot licker .John NBA


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