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Monday, November 29, 2010


Above: arrest photo of Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson
For the second time in less than a month, embroiled Hartford Councilperson Veronica Airey-Wilson is managing to take the easy way out.

Airey-Wilson, who played a role in the Perez Corruption scandal and was eventually arrested along with Perez ,took Accelerated Rehabilitation to avoid going to trial.
After that decision many were calling for her resignation for her violation of the public trust as an elected official.

Now, it appears as though Airey-Wilson will be able to avoid those calls for her resignation and save face, courtesy of the City of Hartford's pension fund. City Hall sources have advised me that Airey-Wilson submitted her paperwork to accept early retirement shortly before today's 5:00PM deadline. According to those same sources, Airey-Wilson's "package" also includes paid medical insurance at the taxpayers expense for life.

It seems ironic that the State Attorney General is attempting to revoke Perez's pension for his criminal acts while Airey-Wilson is being rewarded and given a graceful exit from City Hall with her pension.


Anonymous said...

As exciting as this news is, I cringe at the same time wondering who will replace her.

City Council tends to maneuver in like minded individuals, and that's not a compliment.

Anne Igma said...

Two names being thrown around so far are Sweets Wilson, apparently no relation to the corrupt Councilwoman, but a close friend and ally and former Treasurer for Airey-Wilson's failed Senate campaign.

The other name is Corey Brinson, Airey-Wilson's nephew. Brinson has apparently left Hartford for jobs twice over the last couple of years , once for a job in Washington DC and then from what I am told he moved to Bloomfield when the DC job didn't work out.

His moves make me skeptical about his commitment to Hartford and its people, not to mention , do we really need to replace a corrupt politician with her hand picked relative?

And don't leave out Mike McGarry, he does need the benefits you know.

Willie Nunez said...

Mike McGarry is corrupt also

Anonymous said...

Both of those possible replacements sound fantastic and just what Hartford needs to fix it's corrupt image.


but isn't a Masters degree in corrupt behavior a prerequisite for appointment as a replacement Councilperson?

I only wish I knew what the Mayor's advisor's are telling him when it comes to these replacements. The Perez loyalists being seated on the Council will not support Segarra and any changes he needs to make at budget time. This council will continue to be a roadblock to any fiscal responsibility Segarra tries to bring to Hartford's budget this spring

Mayor Segarra needs to begin flexing some political muscle and get those critical votes on the Council that will support him when the tough votes need to be cast in his favor, or should I say in favor of the residents and business people of Hartford who will be taxed right out of this City when tax relief ends July 1st and the reckless spending continues

peter brush said...

Clue me in.
My understanding is that early retirement is a method for bloated bureaucracies to reduce spending. A financial incentive is offered to higher paid employees so that they can be replaced, if at all, with lower paid ones. When it comes to an elected official what is "early?" And, how does the city reap any financial benefit in exchange for the induced retirement? Her replacement will not be paid any less than she.

Sarju said...

good point Peter. There is a clause that allows for the Mayor to basically say no to anyone deemed critical but in the case of some elected positions and political appointees, there is almost zero savings.

Councilwoman Airey-Wilson happens to fit under the requirements due to her years on the Council. More of concern would be the Executive Assistants within the council who qualify, because once they leave they can be replaced at their cushy $50k/yr job plus benefits for doing practically nothing.

I'm sure Kevin will miss them as they comprise a bulk of his "city hall sources."

I think the Treasurer also qualifies for the early retirement benefit.

Chris said...

Other than in Hartford, where else and who else gets paid medical for life upon retirement? Just wondering...

Anonymous said...

Thanks to convicted felon Eddie Perez's reign, Hartford's city charter and policies have been molded into a giant gravy train for it's "leadership" and no one is willing to publicly demand changes and restore our faith in Hartford politics.

I think many had high hopes for Pedro to be the great change we needed and he's turned out to be a dud who's just quietly laying low, so not to make more enemies, so he can run for Mayor next year. If you think he will suddenly become a lion if he gets a 4 year term you're kidding yourself.

Personally I think every voter in Hartford should consider voting next time around for a fresh face in as many positions as possible, especially the Mayor who holds the strongest position in the city.

An inexperienced politician who places the public's needs above his/her own is worth more than a life long politician who's been corrupted by the system.

Anonymous said...

Councilwoman Airey-Wilson happens to fit under the requirements due to her years on the Council.
Again; fill me in, por favor. If she had not made the deadline would she have gotten anything? What advantage, if any, to her in "early retirement?"

Rich Wareing said...

She gets years of service added to her actual term of service for the purpose of calculating her pension. I think it is 5 years of extra credit, which is an additional 12.5% of her salary, which is about $18,000.

Anonymous said...

That's not a lot of money. She probably cost the city more with her bad legislation anyway so I see this as a win for the city.

peter brush said...

She gets years of service added to her actual term of service for the purpose of calculating her pension.
I guess we need to provide this sort of benefit if we are to attract superior people to "public service."

peter brush said...

years of service v. actual term of service
I apologize, but can you fill me in on the distinction between above?
Many garcias.

Willie Nunez said...

why isnt Pedro and the Council complaining about giving a pension to this crook?

Rich Wareing said...

Peter, my understanding is that you get 2.5%of your salary (actually something like the average of the last couple of years of employment) per year of employment. Veronica has been on councilo since 12/93 so her pension would (2.5% x 17) x salary of about $19,000. By taking the incentive, she gets an extra 5 years of credit,so her calculation is (2.5% x 22) x about $19,000.

peter brush said...

Thanks, Rich.
She's not going to get wealthy on that, but significantly better than kick in the pants. The earliness of her exit would not seem to improve her position too terribly much.

Anonymous said...

Steve Bonafonte would make a great replacement for Airey-Wilson. He has a great deal of experienced and is committed to the City. He has been a cop and works for Travellers. I think this City needs someone like him.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it up to the republicans to find the replacement for her? So guys you all sound like you fit that label get someone good in there. You know the old push.

peter brush said...

I doubt Turner will get any sort of pension up in Mass.
BOSTON — For the first time in its history, the Boston City Council has expelled one of its members. In an 11-1 vote late Wednesday the council acted to remove Chuck Turner from office, effective on Friday. The vote follows Turner’s federal conviction in October of taking a $1,000 bribe.
Hub leaders past and present got their Irish up yesterday over Chuck Turner’s rant as he was bounced from the City Council, when he blamed his ouster on “the Irish” and sought to cast himself as a martyr cut from the same cloth as the legendary Mayor James Michael Curley.

“Chuck Turner is certainly no James Michael Curley,” State Rep. Marty Walsh (D-Dorchester) told the Herald. “(Turner) was convicted in a court of law for taking money. The Irish didn’t do that to him. I take serious offense that he blamed the Irish for his problems with the legal system.”

Added John “Wacko” Hurley, a South Boston activist who organizes the neighborhood’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade: “I wouldn’t expect anything less coming from him. He’s a wannabe and a never-was.”

peter brush said...

City spokeswoman Sarah Barr's press release is below:

Pedro E. Segarra





(December 3, 2010)--- Mayor Pedro E. Segarra announced today that the early retirement of 30 city workers will amount to approximately $1 million in savings for the City of Hartford--- a city that is trying to close a projected $10 million budget gap for FY 10-11. The savings include the approval of three deferments until June 2011 and nine others staggered over a period of three months to allow for a more orderly transition.

Those receiving the June deferments include Santiago Malave, Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations, John Byrne, Deputy Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Lawrence LaBarbera, City Assessor. The nine others are John McGrane, Assistant Director of Public Works/City Engineer, Breeda Burchell, Emergency Services, Denise Aguilera, Pension Commission, Evelyn Rivera, Development Services, Jennifer Cassidy, City Council staff, Gary Carter, Treasurer's Office, Kathleen Palm Devine, City Treasurer, Katherine McCormack, Director of Emergency Management and Giselle Feliciano, City Council staff.