As I have been laying low for the past few weeks focusing on what was concern number one, my health, I am now ready and full of energy to spout off about a new era in Hartford's history.
I can't respond to all of the comments that have been posted here, but I just want to say thanks to "Bruce", "Matt", "GiGi" (I have been assured it is not that GiGi) and all the others, especially that guy (or gal) "Anonymous" who have kept the conversations flowing while my postings were at a minimum.
And to all the well wishers, thanks again for your concern. I do have a couple of regrets though that I didn't take some of the people up on their offers. Imagine what I could have done with a picture of Chief Roberts bringing groceries up my stairs after he asked if "there was anything I needed?". And to Bishop Selders, thanks for the prayer beads. I know I'm not supposed to pray for such things, but they worked great during jury deliberations.
Ok , on to the comments.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "YOU MIGHT BE ASKING WHY EDDIE A. PEREZ IS GONE.......":
So, Kevin, what is the scoop??? Which Dept Heads and Directors were NOT invited to stay by Mayor Segarra???
The answer is pretty simple, your guess is about as good as mine. I know what my recommendations would be, but that's about it.
If nothing else, we see Mayor Segarra as someone who doesn't operate from the seat of the pants and you have to look at the total picture. The elimination of John Rose and Susan McMullen were pretty safe bets right from the start. I am somewhat surprised by the survival of Sarah Barr, but who knows, that might be a short lived survival.
Barr was responsible for many of the dirty deeds put forth for Eddie as she authored and preached the "Gospel of Perez". Many people still see her as the face of the Perez Administration and this will be an impediment to regaining any one's trust in Hartford as long as she is around.
Chief Daryl Roberts is another question mark, but I think Roberts deserves to be let loose to do what he was hired to do and that is run the Hartford Police Department. Ironically, as I sit here and write this, today is the four year anniversary of the Chief's appointment as Police Chief. Chief Roberts survived four years under some of the most difficult times in Hartford's history.
My great, great uncle (I probably need another great in there) was a former Hartford Police Chief back when Hartford was an entirely different place. I have read stories about him, Chief Michael Godfrey. He was actually Chief at the time of the Barbour Street Circus Fire. At that time Police Chiefs, in Cities like Hartford, were chauffeured everywhere in large sedans and were more powerful than most elected officials.More importantly, no one said no to them or dared cross them and they usually got what they needed.
Now in our present day era, Chief Roberts is being told to do more with less in a society that seems to become more and more violent everyday. A prime example was this weekend,an 18 year old boy leveling a rifle at a police officers chest and firing.
When Chief Roberts made his comments a couple summers ago that our city had a "toxic relationship" with itself, a firestorm erupted. The firestorm wasn't in the community, most people loved his honesty. We all know it but most people are afraid to say it. No, the firestorm erupted at 550 Main Street in the Mayor's Office. How dare Chief Roberts express his (and many others) honest thoughts. That was not in line with the Gospel of Perez.
That wasn't the start, but it sure escalated the contentious relationship between the Chief and Perez.
At the very least, Chief Roberts deserves a 6 month extension on his contract with the instructions from the Mayor that the leash from City Hall is off, go do what we hired you to do, and lets review that in 6 months.We have already seen stepped up enforcement action citywide. Maybe coincidence, maybe the result of HPD being allowed to do their job without interference from a prison bound Mayor, only time will tell.
The results will tell the story, but in 2 weeks time there have been numerous arrests for drug dealing at the Washington Street McDonald's, 30 people arrested for drug sealing in Keney Park, bodegas having their "after-hours" permits revoked or suspended. All within the last two weeks under the Segarra Administration.
The Fire Chief is in good shape I think. Ed Casares is an honorable guy and I think will steer the HFD in the right direction. The only major question is the Dan Nolan case hanging out there and how that will be resolved and what impact that will have on the Department. Much of the testimony from Nolan's Labor Board hearings has the potential to far from flattering for the previous Administration and the transcripts will make for some good reading.
Hopefully Casares and a new Corporation Counsel can come together and resolve the situation favorably without any huge settlements. It is only my opinion , but Dan Nolan will be a rich man in the end if they don't. The same can be said about Police Officer Matthew Secore who the Labor Board ordered his reinstatement after Perez fired him, only to be disregarded by John Rose and Perez. Another big settlement in the making.
Several others in the Mayor's Office need to go also. Many are back peddling now and saying they only did what they had to to remain in good standing and keep their jobs. Nice try, but I'm sorry. You are adults, you made decisions, now live with the consequences. The Office of Constituent Services was, I feel, essentially run as a political backroom and a polling operation for Perez. That entire operation needs to be revamped and actually provide a service to Hartford's residents.
The Finance Director, as I said in a previous post, needs to be scrutinized. If he knowingly played games with Hartford's budget and allowed budget projections and revenue collections to be over inflated at Perez's insistence, he needs to be gone.But even if the Director stays, the Deputy Director Lydia Rosario needs to go. Rosario has hired several family members and relatives bypassing Hartford's hiring practices as well as covering up large thefts of cash from the Tax Collectors Office. Rosario and Tax Collector Marc Nelson are now orchestrating a witch hunt against an employee who brought the issue to light, attempting to terminate him.
Human Relations Director Lillian Ruiz....gone, gone, gone. Much of the Perez corruption operations happened under her watch. She might not have been found criminally liable, how I don't know, but she held the responsibility for Carlos Costas oversight as far as his minority hiring and reporting. Her employees were wheeling and dealing with Costa to cover up his poor performance. She should have known what was going on in her department. Plus I don't like the comments she made about me in a couple of her staff meetings. (yes, sources are everywhere)
Health Department....Eddie did a good job of burying Evelyn Mantilla there and protecting her as a civil service employee. What she does no one actually knows, but she does report to work to collect her $70,000 a year plus salary, thanks to Eddie Perez. The Director should be pretty safe though.
Public Works...the verdict is out on Kevin Burnham. Overall I think he has proven ineffective and is slow to get out of the box and accomplish anything. Hartford's streets are a mess, I haven't seen any milling or street rebuilding , to the best of my knowledge, so far this summer. Hartford's Parks and cemeteries are a mess and an embarrassment to Hartford's image. In Burnham's defense, it is hard to accomplish anything when you can pretty much count your staff on one hand.
Mayor Segarra has been speaking about pumping money into a summer intern program to hire people for maintaining our parks, hopefully by rebuilding the bridge to the Capitol some money can be found for such a program. But first up for Burnham is to get in the habit of returning phone calls or at the very least designate a responsible person to call people back on his behalf. That includes other department heads as well as city residents. Ignoring problems doesn't solve anything.
And we have way too many Deputy Directors in DPW. One such person is Deputy Director Marilyn Cruz-Aponte who landed here in Hartford courtesy of Perez's Chief of Staff Susan McMullen. McMullen and Cruz-Aponte worked together in New Britain before McMullen was let go by the City of New Britain. I know Mayor Segarra isn't vindictive, but Cruz-Aponte is the person who singled out Segarra's half brother to be laid-off in last years first round of terminations. From what sources have told me , she has also had some very unflattering comments about our new Mayor and voiced them in a meeting the same day Segarra was sworn in.
And you probably thought I forgot about MHIS Director Eric Jackson, another one...gone, gone , gone. I have already written too much in this post, but I'll get into Jackson in depth again soon. But suffice it to say, he has been another huge drain on Hartford's resources with nothing in return.
Human Resources Director Santiago Malave, the jury is still out on him. Personally, I like him and I know he was doing Perez's dirty work, but like I said before, they are all adults who made decisions for themselves that they must now live with. Many personnel decisions have been made and are still pending that may cost Hartford millions of dollars in the end for unsubstantiated allegations and charges that haven't held up before the Labor Board and most likely won't hold up in court. Malave was supposed to be the voice of reason when it came to personnel matters and I'm not sure that has always happened when it came to pressure from Perez.
Let me know if I left anyone out and I'll try to respond with my thoughts.
And to "Dave", I know you are waiting for my response, you will be up next.