Ex-Connecticut mayor returns to office after prison stint

AP News
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Posted: Dec 01, 2015 8:51 PM
Ex-Connecticut mayor returns to office after prison stint

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — The former mayor of Bridgeport, who spent seven years in federal prison for public corruption, was sworn in again on Tuesday as mayor of Connecticut's largest city.

Joe Ganim's inaugural ceremony capped off a stunning political comeback. Just five years out of prison, he defeated incumbent Mayor Bill Finch in the Sept. 16 primary and then easily won the general election, defeating seven opponents. His campaign was fueled a wave of goodwill from voters who fondly remembered his years in office, from 1991 until 2003.

On Tuesday, Ganim told the hundreds of onlookers who gathered for the ceremony that he planned to "bring Bridgeport back together."

Ganim promised a more approachable city hall, a diverse government and better morale at the city's police department. Ganim said he knows how to create new jobs and take the city to new heights.

The 56-year-old father of three accepted the oath of office from his father, George Ganim. The younger Ganim acknowledged that just a year ago he wouldn't have dreamt or conceived of being sworn in as Bridgeport's 54th mayor. He said his life has taught him lessons "about how a person can fall and get back up," a theme that appeared to resonate with many voters who said Ganim deserved a second chance.

Since his election night victory, Ganim has been busy meeting with state and federal officials, rebuilding relationships that may have been bruised during the campaign. Few elected officials endorsed Ganim. Also, he has made some initial appointments and created a 75-member transition task force with seven committees.

Those committees have been focusing on economic development, community neighborhood services, education and youth, government operations and financial policies, government accountability and transparency, and public safety and emergency services. They have until Feb. 1 to make a formal presentation to the new mayor.

On Monday, Ganim announced he was appointing 10 people, most of whom supported him during the campaign, to positions in the mayor's office. He tapped former FBI agent Edward Adams to serve as his senior adviser and director of governmental accountability and integrity. Adams, who said he played a leading role in the corruption probe that sent Ganim to prison, was actively involved in the Democrat's efforts to win back his old job.

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