BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Mayor Joseph P. Ganim, who served seven years in federal prison for corruption charges after his first five terms as mayor, was sworn into office again Tuesday, promising to rebuild police morale, review all budget lines and “bring Bridgeport back together.”
Quoting poet T.S. Eliot, Ganim called on the hundreds gathered in the Klein Memorial Auditorium to help him rebuild the city.
“‘For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice,’” he said to cheers and applause. “Tonight, we are that voice. The past is done and the future, our future, has begun.”
Ganim and others who spoke during the ceremony, in which 32 others were sworn into offices in the city, evoked divine intervention in his re-election Nov. 3.
Thanking voters for their support, Ganim thanked God and said, “I truly believe there was another hand at work.”
The Rev. David O. Miller, who offered the benediction, said Ganim’s political survival was “pre-ordained.”
“There’s a new star out tonight and it’s been in the making,” he said, to shouts of “Amen” and That’s right” from the crowd.
Some of those gathered said they already saw a new lightness and energy in City Hall now that outgoing Mayor Bill Finch’s term is over.
“I walked through City Hall today and you can just feel the excitement,” said City Librarian Scott Hughes, a member of the new mayor’s transition team. “The doors are open. I think people are ready to roll up their sleeves and move forward.”
Charles Clemons Jr., who was sworn in as town clerk Tuesday, said, “Bridgeport is going to continue the renaissance we’re in the midst of. I’m very optimistic about Bridgeport’s future.”
Former Mayor John Fabrizi, who sat in the auditorium out of the spotlight, said he thought Ganim would draw on his experience and knowledge and do a good job, something Fabrizi said is crucial.
“I wish him all the best,” Fabrizi said. “His being a success is what will mean the city will be successful.”
Democratic Town Committee Chairman Mario Testa beamed as he shook hands before the ceremony.
“This means a lot, especially with second chances,” Testa said. “The first thing on the agenda is the budget.”
The evening’s master of ceremonies, Judge Eddie Rodriquez, added some levity to the evening.
“I’m sorry. These glasses are Walgreens specials,” he said, after making a mistake in the order of the program. “It’s a good thing I’m not writing checks up here.”
Several others were sworn in Tuesday, including former Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Wesley Matthews as a city sheriff and Maria Pereira, the first Portuguese woman on the Board of Education.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman addressed the crowd before the swearing-in ceremony, alluding to the many challenges facing anyone in the Bridgeport mayor’s office.
“You’ve got a big job on your hands,” she said. “I know that you will make things happen in the city of Bridgeport.”
Longtime Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti summed up what many on hand were thinking.
“If you hang around long enough,” he said, “things do come full circle.”
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