Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Peter Ganim is in his eighth term as Mayor of Connecticut’s largest city with a population of approximately 147,000 people. After campaigning on a platform of open government, reducing crime, improving public schools, reducing property taxes and growing the economy and job creation, Mayor Ganim was elected by a wide margin on November 3, 2015 to a position he had last held in 2003. He continues to serve as Mayor having been reelected in 2019.
Mayor Ganim had served six previous terms as chief executive of Bridgeport from 1991-2003, and in so doing accomplished several important things for the Park City. Mayor Ganim led the city out of municipal bankruptcy by overcoming a $21 million budget deficit and a 5-year projected deficit of $250 million. Mayor Ganim’s tenure ushered in 10 consecutive years of balanced budgets and a surplus of $58 million. This was accomplished by implementing difficult cost saving measures and innovative revenue raising techniques. These included negotiations with city labor unions to achieve concessions and savings of more than $20 million in labor costs without laying off any employees and negotiating a more than $350 million bond issue with multiple Wall Street investment firms to erase the city’s unfunded pension liability. As a result of these efforts, Bridgeport’s credit rating increased across the board during his tenure and Mayor Ganim was recognized in 1996 by Newsweek magazine as one of America’s most “innovative and dynamic mayors.”
Other accomplishments during Joe Ganim’s first 12 years as Mayor include:
- The successful negotiation of a complex 25-acre urban redevelopment project by securing a $10 million corporate donation for the construction of a $21 million municipal baseball stadium and parking garage.
- Leading the effort to construct a new 10,000 seat indoor sports and entertainment complex by obtaining $60 million in grant money and $10 million in private funding, to serve as the home for a new minor league American Hockey League team.
- Leading and successfully overseeing urban redevelopment projects including 40 acres of waterfront land for the relocation of a major ship building business and the creation of close to 50 jobs.
- Successfully leading an urban renewal project that relocated Housatonic Community College out of a deteriorated building and into a new $60 million state-of-the-art downtown facility.
- Launched new after school programs for Bridgeport youth and reduce crime in the city by hiring new police officers and refocus on preventative community policing
After serving as Mayor, Joe Ganim worked as a successful private sector consultant for five years, representing a number of businesses and non-profit organizations with various needs ranging from internal management of specific projects to overall organizational improvements, using his vast experience in both business operations and corporate law. Consulting ranged from helping small management teams in large organizations including multi-million dollar public and private sector funding, financial planning, money management and complex budgeting.
As a consultant, Mayor Ganim led and advised management teams on energy savings projects, revenue enhancement projects, internal process improvements and the mitigation of sudden and unexpected business challenges. This includes sophisticated business and real estate transactions and complex capital projects as well as government relations and the securing of funding through grants and loan programs.
Joe Ganim launched his campaign for Mayor in May of 2015, asking Bridgeport voters for a 2nd chance not just for himself, but also for the city of Bridgeport. Mayor Ganim pledged to improve the quality of life for Bridgeport residents by helping to improve the economy, grow jobs, reduce crime, improve public schools, reduce the city’s tax burden and get Bridgeport’s finances under control.
Since taking office as Mayor, Joe Ganim has taken actions to:
- Rein in spending after announcing the city has a $20 million dollar deficit, while renegotiating several city labor unions.
- Joined forces with Connecticut State Comptroller Kevin Lembo to launch the most comprehensive government transparency in Bridgeport’s history. The project, called ‘OpenBridgeport’ will make all city financial data available to the public in real time through an online portal.
- Pledged to hire an additional 100 new police officers and has created the Bridgeport Violent Crime Reduction Initiative as part of a reorganization of the Bridgeport Police Department.
- Under the new Ganim administration Bridgeport has also been awarded a nearly $40 million dollar federal grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for flood protection to guard against rising tides, coastal storms and the impact of climate change.
- Mayor Ganim has also led disaster relief efforts following a fire New Year’s Eve in a condominium complex that displaced more than 120 people, one of the largest displacements due to fire in Connecticut history. This included working with Governor Dannel P. Malloy to apply for and receive federal disaster assistance to the victims through the U.S. Small Business Administration
Mayor Ganim is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the University of Bridgeport School of Law. He lives in Bridgeport and has three children: daughter Krista and son Joseph are now both college students, while son Robert is in high school.