Hey, the city’s gonna have a director of Public Facilities real soon, and according to the skinny in City Hall it will be a familiar face … Charlie Carroll, chief of staff to former Mayor John Fabrizi and current director of Parks and Recreation.
Charlie is a good guy who had a supporting role in filmmaker Larry Locke’s docudrama The Accidental Mayor, about Fabs’ battle with his public and private demons. Fabs appointed Charlie, his chief loyalist, parks honcho in the waning months of his mayoralty. Along with the director of Economic Development (recently filled by Don Eversley) the department head vacancy in Public Facilities had left a key unit rudderless during Mayor Bill Finch’s first eight months in office.
Public Facilities is a superagency that touches the lives of residents on a daily basis more than any other non-uniformed government function. The department includes public works, parks, the dog pound and airport: it picks up your garbage and plows and paves the streets, fixes potholes and grooms golf courses, handles building maintenance and some construction projects. When a City Council member gets a raging phone call from a constituent, it usually has something to do with Public Facilities.
For decades it had been the political dumping ground for the connected. “Hey, get my kid a job!” Okay, we’ll stick him in public works. But in recent years, as budget restrictions and job reclassification have cut back on mayoral discretionary appointments, not as many jobs to go around. One of the biggest headaches for the Public Facilities director, in addition to making the trains run on time, is dealing with the unions on an assortment of issues.
If Charlie gets the nod how does Charlie, once a union worker himself, deal with the unionized workers he knows so well?
Both John Marsilio, director of Public Facilities under Joe Ganim and George Estrada who had the role under Fabs before leaving for a similar position at the University of Bridgeport last year, knew how to navigate the minefields both political and public to get the job done.
Good luck, Charlie.
Weed and seed, a news release from Congressman Christopher Shays
Bridgeport to Receive $150,000 Weed and Seed Grant
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Christopher Shays and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch announced today that the Bridgeport Police Department will receive a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to begin a “Weed and Seed” program in the Hollow as well as in the surrounding neighborhoods. This is the second award to implement a Weed and Seed strategy in that neighborhood.
Weed and Seed is a community-driven initiative that aims to revitalize high-crime neighborhoods by “weeding out” criminals who participate in violent crime and drug abuse and “seeding” communities with social, educational, recreational, health, and cultural services to improve residents’ quality of life.
“The Bridgeport Police Department works hard to improve our neighborhoods,” Shays said. “The Weed and Seed program is an important part of their efforts to clean up Bridgeport , prevent crime and build a safer community. I am grateful for this support from the Department of Justice, and for the work of Mayor Finch to enhance the quality of life for residents in these areas.”
“First, we’d like to thank Congressman Shays for helping to secure this needed grant for the Bridgeport Police Department,” said Mayor Finch. “Our police officers work very hard and they do a tremendous job, but this will help them focus even harder on the effort to make sure Bridgeport is a safer community for all our residents and for all the visitors to our city.”
Police Chief Bryan Norwood also thanked Congressman Shays and assured him that the monies would be put to excellent use. “We are always happy when we can get valuable support from sources outside of Bridgeport,” said Norwood.
Law enforcement will use the funding to continue its work to reduce drug trafficking, gun violence and gang activity through the use of Joint Law Enforcement Task Forces, infiltration techniques, and coordinated prosecutions.
The grants work to increase the level of trust between residents and the police. They provide a wide range of safe haven activities including mentoring, computer learning, and health, recreational, and cultural initiatives. The grants also aim to improve the physical appearance of neighborhoods by collaborating with local development efforts to encourage housing development and incorporating crime prevention through environmental design principles in residential housing.