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Tuesday, September 9, 2008


At last nights Hartford City Council meeting I brought up the issue of ethics by our Mayor and Councilpeople. The point I was trying to make before Council President Torres, possibly acting through some guilt of his own and nervousness about upcoming arrests, began slamming the gavel, was this.

Most people in the city seem to be taking a wait and see attitude regarding the Grand Jury investigation, even though Mayor Perez and Councilperson Airey-Wilson have both admitted publicly that they benefitted from sweetheart home renovations from city contractor Carlos Costa. They both claim now that looking back, it was a mistake. I for one do not believe that Airey-Wilson's house was searched over $300.00 in countertops, or that Perez's house was searched to see if he took out building permits for the work. That is their version and their attempt at damage control. But lets just give Airey-Wilson the benefit of the doubt that it was over $300.00 in granite countertops. If the city contractor charged only $300 for the work, and Airey-Wilson paid the bill, ok, end of story. If all of us in the City that wanted to get the same $300.00 countertops called Costa and received the same deal, end of story. The problem arises when anyone with common sense looks at the claim and realizes that granite countertops can not be purchased for $300.00 , not even by the sharpest do-it-yourselfer on the best sale day at Lowe's or Home Depot. So therefore, any reasonable and prudent person would have to come to the conclusion that because of Airey-Wilson's political connections, she received a deal that is not available to the rest of her constituents. That is called corruption, that is called using your political position for personal gain, in most circles that is called criminal, and at the very least it is called unethical. (the reasonable and prudent person part, that's what is known as a standard for probable cause)

The time to end the wait and see attitude has come. We as citizens of Hartford need to begin removing the cloud over our city and get back to rebuilding a troubled city. Let's get people into leadership positions who actually wanted to lead, and not just benefit from their positions. The time to begin calling for the resignations of corrupt officials is now.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I will be the first to admit that as a small business owner and resident in Hartford, I have had a very difficult time with Hartford's tax structure and carrying the city's budget on the backs of small business. Although all of my taxes are current at this time, I have not always been able to pay on time, and lost a property I owned when the city refused to enter into a payment plan for back taxes. If Airey-Wilson was behind on taxes due to financial hardship, I can appreciate that. If it was not a financial hardship and just irresponsible behavior, that is a totally different story. One needs to look no further than to see the struggle many small businesses and residents are facing as taxes continue to rise, Just as an example, both the Democratic and Republican Town Chairmen have faced their issues over the years with delinquent taxes, and the Republican Town Chairmen continues to be behind over 2 years on his vehicle taxes.

And Veronica, as far as your comments at the council meeting, about glass houses. I am more than willing to be honest with anyone that asks. Can you say the same? I know that at the conclusion of the Grand Jury, I won't be facing any criminal charges. Can you look your constituents in the eye and honestly say the same thing?

The Beginning of the End or "What Hiring Freeze?"

As the end of the corruption investigation at Hartford City Hall seems to be coming closer and closer everyday, there seems to be an effort to take care of certain Perez allies to ensure they have permanent city employment when the ax does fall. One staffer, Evelyn Mantilla, stepped aside from her seat as State Representative in the 4th district when the decision was made that Kelvin Roldan, another Perezite, deserved the seat more. Subsequent to that "step-aside" Mantilla was rewarded with tens of thousandsof dollars in payments from the Perez re-election campaign as a "consultant". After Perez's re-election, Mantilla was again rewarded with a temporay position in the Mayor's Office for approximately $65,000 for a six month gig in Constituent Services. Now that the 6 month position was expiring, Mantilla has landed in the Health and Human Services Department at a salary of approximately $95,000 according to City Hall sources. Phone calls to the Health and Human Services Department today confirmed that Mantilla was in a new position, but none of the staffers there were aware of what her responsibilties were.

Also in a new position is long time Perezite and City contract benefactor Yasha Escalera. Escalera has apparently been hired to fill the position of Bruno Mazzulla, the city's former director of Property Acquisition and Disposition. Should prove interesting to see how Mr. Escalera is going to avoid conflict as his company , Dresca Construction, is apparently still doing business with the City.

And lest we think that the hiring freeze is only circumvented by the Mayor, another position created and filled this week is raising eyebrows. Councilman Pedro Segarra recently closed his law practice at 250 Main Strret in Hartford. As part of that closure, his secretary, Miriam Rodriguez, lost her job. Apparently Segarra felt obligated to keep Ms. Rodriguez gainfully employed , so a position (a new position) was created in the MIS Department of Executive Assistant to Chief Information Officer Erick Jackson. Although I have filed an FOI request to see how this position was filled, was it even posted or advertised, was anyone else even interviewed, and there seems to be many questions surrounding this "hiring freeze hire".

The following is the letter sent to MIS staffers by Eric Jackson introducing Ms. Rodriguez:

From: Jackson, Eric L.
Sent: Sunday, September 07, 2008 4:31 PM
To: Internal MHIS
Subject: Welcome New Hire
Importance: High

Hello everyone. By now many of you have either met or heard from our newest staff member
Miriam Rodriguez. Miriam’s title is Executive Assistant (EA) and she is responsible for ensuring that I complete many of the assignments I have laid out for myself in addition to those required by the Mayor’s office and all of our stakeholders. Miriam will work in concert with our MHIS directors, Dawn Meucci (Principal Analyst), and Monique Rodriguez (Secretary) to perform the financial and administrative tasks that make our department run smoothly and efficiently. In addition, Miriam will focus on internal and external communications such as the MHIS strategic plan, business plan, and annual report. Miriam’s last work assignment was with the legal offices of Pedro Segarra (City Councilman) where she performed in a similar capacity. I am very pleased to have Miriam join us and look forward to your continued support of management’s continuing effort to improve our service to the city of Hartford and the Board of Education.If you have not done so already, please drop by and wish her well in her new assignment. Miriam is located in the office adjacent to mine.

Best regards,
Eric L. Jackson Chief Information Officer
City Of Hartford, CT
860-757-9474 Office
860-798-3156 Mobile