Reform Public Safety Hiring, Bridgeport Jobs For Bridgeport People

Retired city firefighter Andy Fardy writes that harm is being done to the Civil Service system that was enacted following the election of Jasper McLevy in 1933, a major campaign promise of the Socialist mayor limiting the spoils system of government. Fardy argues in particular the city is behind in the hiring of public safety personnel. From Fardy:

Civil Service was put in place many years ago to stop the politicians from threatening employees and firing them for no good reason.

Under the Finch administration and with the help of Civil Service boss David Dunn they have emasculated the Civil Service System. Employees are fired for no apparent reason and testing is way behind.

The area where they are hurting us the most is in the hiring of Police and Firefighters. There are two things they can do that would help the emergency services and save the city a lot of money in early pension buyouts.

First, the city has no maximum age limit for police and fire personal and they should. Presently a person 55 years old can take the test, pass the physical and get on the job. That person would be 80 years old before they retire. Can you picture a 65-year-old cop chasing a 20-year-old kid or fighting with that same kid? These older applicants may survive a few years at their prospective jobs but father time will get them in quick order. It’s time we stop hiring these older people and have a maximum age limit like 35 years old.

Now before anyone starts yelling about rights, Federal Law does allow for a maximum age for public safety officers. In fact Federal firefighters must retire at age 57.

David Dunn is aware of these regulations and refuses to take action to protect the city from these liabilities. Civil Service is also responsible for this costly problem.

The next way to save money and put Bridgeport residents to work is to restrict hiring for both Fire and Police jobs to Bridgeport residents.

While both the Police and Fire departments have no residency restrictions, you can have such a restriction for entry-level employees and once on the job they then could move out of the city. There is no Federal Law that prohibits this type of hiring practice.

Civil Service does not think of these things and their leadership has been around for too long, In fact the head of the Civil Service commission does not live in Bridgeport and the employee representative is and was an empty suit.

It’s time for David Dunn and Civil Service to get off their asses and start doing their jobs.



  1. You are correct Andy, and these are good ideas. No matter what age new hires might be, there should certainly be a physical fitness test yearly for all members of the City workforce.

  2. … and there is no way the “wolf” should be leading the “sheep!” David Dunn had always been working against Civil Service, so they put him in charge to win the easy way!

  3. Andy, I couldn’t agree with you more than on this subject. The fire department is getting ready to hire ten new firefighters and seven of those live somewhere other than Bridgeport. How does Bridgeport benefit by hiring seven people who don’t live here, don’t pay taxes here and who have no stake in the future of this city?

    David Dunn is out of his field of expertise and was put into that position to circumvent the Civil Service process so Mayor Finch could bring cronyism into the Civil service process. In the last two years the police and fire departments have hired over 70 individuals and less than 10% have been Bridgeport residents. These numbers are the worse in hiring for Bridgeport residents in 30 years with respect to the police and fire departments.

    Get David Dunn out of the Civil Service office and hire a qualified individual for the position so the youth of Bridgeport have an opportunity to work in the city where they were raised. Hartford does it, why not Bridgeport?

  4. Andy Fardy, thanks for the topic. Mayor Finch and David Dunn are well aware of what you have pointed out because time and time again this has been pointed out to them and to the City Council members where hiring those from Bridgeport would be great the residents of their own district. Bridgeport has a wealth of smart and talented people who could be firefighters but sometimes a city any city has to go out and recruit your own and let them know you want them and serving your Bridgeport is a great and rewarding career and we want you. No, not Mayor Finch and David Dunn. Bridgeport residents are voters the mayor wants to vote for him but not good enough for him to say he will give you any help but don’t forget to vote for him.

    I agree totally with you Andy and with Donald Day and especially Donald’s statement, “David Dunn is out of his field of expertise and was put into that position to circumvent the Civil Service process so Mayor Finch could bring cronyism into the Civil service process.” City must do what they are suppose to do and that is to do a nationwide search to hire the best person for the position of the head of Personnel Department.

  5. I think another reason they go outside the city is they feel Bridgeport residents are not smart enough to do these jobs. There is another veiled reason to go to the suburbs and that is the desire of this and other administrations to keep both departments as white as possible. Whether that’s 100% true or not I am not sure but the one thing I am sure of is we have more than enough qualified residents living within our borders, we don’t need to go outside the city for public safety officers.

    1. What might the Small Business and Minority Enterprise office have to say about this? Probably nothing because jobs that pay municipal wages and benefits to City minorities is not their focus. And besides, they are three recent years behind in completing their ‘service indicators’ that were posted with the 2014-15 budget that was approved.

      Where do these actual numbers reside? City vs non-City resident applicants? Age of candidates? Minority status? Who speaks for this area, the Mayor? His p.r. person, Brett B.? The Police Chief? His p.r. person, Bill K.? Chair of Civil Service committee with numerous allegations that actual “put my head on the pillow and go to sleep” residence address is different from Bridgeport business address? Or Dave D.? Do we need another p.r. employee in the City? Time will tell.

  6. Andy,
    Here is another reason. Bridgeport has a First Responder Magnet School. So we set aside a special educational curriculum for which only 10% of those tested reside in Bridgeport. How stupid is THAT???

    1. Bob,
      Are you talking about the BOE Military Academy model started under Paul Vallas as a Interdistrict School, first housed at Fairchild Wheeler? But being moved to another location in the coming year? It attempted to recruit students from the ‘burbs as well as the City. I am at a loss to understand what “only 10% of those tested reside in Bridgeport” means unless such an academy is not popular among students leaving Bridgeport 8th grade classes and ready to move on to high school. If 90% of applicants were from the ‘burbs and only 10% of applicants were from the City, I still would figure the target number for City students enrolled would have been at 1/3 or more. Can you help understanding in this case (so we can answer your question as to stupidity)? Time will tell.

      1. BMW is not an Interdistrict School and only accepts students who reside in Bridgeport. Fairchild Wheeler is inter district and 25% of its students are required to be from the suburbs.

  7. Andy, I’m glad you said it, “the desire of this administration and others is to keep both departments as white as possible.” They put on a class on the BFD that for the first time in 35 years there were no blacks and for the first time in 25 years there were no women. One would think either white males have gotten a lot smarter or blacks and women have gotten a lot dumber or the hiring process David has chosen to use is discriminatory. We know the first two statements are asinine.
    When are the black religious leaders, the black political leaders or the black business leaders going to hold Mayor Finch accountable for his abysmal hiring numbers? They let him come to the black community begging for the black vote while not doing a damned thing to help members of the black community get city jobs.

    It’s never going to change until the black leaders of the Bridgeport community demand better. As JML would say, Time will tell.

  8. Bob, it’s only under David Dunn and Mayor Finch only 10% will pass the BFD exam. We haven’t had that problem in 35 years. Did you know the BPD only had one black in two classes of new hires? That’s the worst since the early ’70s.

  9. Mayor Finch can create a jobs program by hiring just Bridgeport residents. The black religious leaders kiss up to Mayor Finch because they need a favor from the mayor like a piece of land or approval from a City department head so they let the mayor speak to their members asking for votes and what do these pastors get? Well, some will get appointed to a City board or commission and sit there and say nothing like those on the fire and police commission, they don’t care if blacks are not being hired. They want that shining gold badge and that department’s dress uniform that makes them look like a chief. As for the black City and State elected officials, well they won’t speak out about hiring blacks because they need the head of the DTC and Mayor Finch’s blessings to run for office and not have Mario Testa and Mayor Finch put up someone to primary them.

  10. Correct me if I am wrong but a test is given for both fire and police and if you fail the test you’re done, so where is it the administration’s fault if the applicants from Bridgeport can’t pass the test???

  11. There are enough qualified people living in Bridgeport to fill the ranks of the PD and FD. The candidates for the FD from the suburbs have an advantage in the physical requirements. It’s not that the Bridgeport candidates fail the written or oral test, it’s that they don’t outscore their suburban neighbors. Does that mean we get the best candidates? No, it does not.
    In the PD we get suburban candidates who have no clue about living in a large city, they have no idea of what the cultural differences are. The first time they are called a mother#^@$%&, they take it as a personal insult.
    The administration’s fault lies in two areas. One is there is no maximum age and two the jobs should be open to Bridgeport residents only. We do not need people from the ‘burbs taking city jobs.

  12. Don’t the Bridgeport residents get extra points for the test, too? I don’t know about you but if you get extra credit and still can’t pass, there is obviously a problem.


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