Police media post should be left unfilled

Published on May 22, 2011 by

Sometimes good intentions just do not work out.

Such is the case with Mayor Bill Finch’s recent appointment of Tim Quinn as spokesman for the Bridgeport Police Department.

Don’t get us wrong: If you needed a city spokesman, Quinn should be the guy.

He’s erudite, well-known, well-liked and knowledgeable. Quinn is an old-school type, and for those of us in the news business that means adhering to a different code; a code hewn back a few decades ago.

That was proved last week when Quinn ill-advisedly sent an email containing some questionable racial references. Does that mean Quinn is a racist? Not at all. But it means that Quinn’s type of humor is for days long past.

We at The Independent can debate all day the propriety of Quinn’s remarks, but we feel that is missing the point. We question whether Quinn should have had the job in the first place.

Tim Quinn held this post at a clip of $70,000, not a bad day’s take for issuing press releases. Quinn talked with the mayor and police chief and then issued his reports; that’s a task that is most appreciated and often undervalued.

However, in this age of layoffs and cutbacks, one wonders how Quinn’s position can be justified. To our knowledge, most public information officers are sworn members of the police department and we can see no reason why that should not be the case in Bridgeport.

To be fair, Mayor Bill Finch did a fine job in hiring Quinn. As a long-time radio personality at WICC-600, Quinn is a presence in the community and a friendly face. It was a great hire.

But Tim Quinn is a quote-unquote-quote “personality,” and as such, he is more than likely to joke around. And that’s what he did. To nobody’s benefit.

In the end, we have a mayor who tried to do the right thing and was let down. We have an old radio friend who was out of his element. And we have a $70,000 position to be filled.

Our recommendation: Put the $70,000 back into the budget; let a police officer handle the press releases and hire a new police officer to take up the slack.