BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Two former officials of Connecticut’s largest city have pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from what prosecutors called a corrupt process that led to the police chief’s appointment in 2018.
Former Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez and the city’s former acting personnel director, David Dunn, face up to two years in prison under plea deals approved Monday a federal judge in Bridgeport.
They also agreed to pay more than $149,000 apiece in restitution to the city. Investigators say Dunn gave confidential information about the police chief's examination to Perez and tailored the scoring criteria in favor of Perez. They are scheduled to be sentenced in January.
Perez and Dunn resigned last month after being accused of rigging the process that led to the city hiring Perez as chief in 2018.
Investigators say Dunn gave answers to the oral portion of the police chief exam to Perez and tailored the scoring criteria in Perez's favor.
When now former Perez was arrested by the FBI, then resigned, Ganim swiftly named Rebeca Garcia the acting police chief, which some in the Council say is in violation of the city charter.
"We are not here to disparage the current acting chief of police in any way," said Councilwoman Maria Pereira, noting Chief Garcia’s nearly 30 years of service to the department.
Their target was the mayor.
"He chose to appoint an Acting Chief of Police that did not participate in the national chief of police search in 2018," Pereira said.
In fact, she stated, the acting chief would not have even qualified to apply for the permanent Chief’s job.
"In order to even qualify to take the exam you had to have five years of command experience, which in Bridgeport you had to be a Captain or above for five years and Garcia did not meet that requirement," said Pereira.
But, in a letter to the City Council, Deputy City Attorney John Bohannon says Acting Chief Garcia meets the qualifications of the charter because she has over a decade of command experience, including most recently holding the position of assistant chief.