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Monday, December 6, 2010

THE "INVOLUNTARY" VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT OF AT LEAST ONE CITY OFFICIAL

The recent voluntary retirement package offered to Hartford city employees may not be as voluntary as everyone thinks, especially for one individual.

It seems as though Hartford's Deputy Treasurer Donna Nappier had no intention, or desire, to stop serving the people of Hartford. Through an FOI request I obtained Ms. Nappier's "acceptance" letter to the City. Attached to that letter was a detailed explanation as to why Nappier considers her "voluntary" retirement as something that was forced upon her.

In speaking with Ms. Nappier today, she made it quite clear that she fully understands that she serves at the will of Treasurer Kathleen Palm-Devine. The Treasurer is also taking the early retirement package. Nappier also said that she did not plan on running for the Treasurers position in November.

Nappier's letter is detailed below, but the whole matter of offering early retirement incentives to elected officials seems somewhat questionable to me for a couple reasons. The first ,and what seems to be the major reason, is that there will be no cost savings in the resignation of an elected official.

Unlike a regular employee, there is no option of leaving an elected position vacant. The Treasurer and Council positions are mandated by Charter and can not be left unfilled as a clerical or laborer position could be. The fact of the matter is that the medical insurance costs and the early pension payments will actually cost the tax payers of Hartford more.

The only way to save money is if the replacement Treasurer and Councilperson agree to work for free, and I highly doubt that.

The second issue I have is whether it is proper for the Administration or the Council to offer incentives to essentially change the will of the voters. Kathleen Palm-Devine and Veronica Airey-Wilson were both duly elected by the voters of Hartford. There should be no incentive by anyone to circumvent that.

If the Treasurer decides it is time for her to retire or move on, that should be her decision and not because someone dangles the carrot on the stick in front of her. In Airey-Wilson's case, the excuse of accepting the retirement incentive gives her an easy out to escape without addressing calls for her resignation due to her corrupt activities.

In researching early retirement incentives offered by other municipal and state governments, every one that I could find excluded elected officials and in most cases also excluded appointed officials on the State level as well.

Here is an example of the exclusions from a recent offering by the State of New York:

Participation Exclusions for the State of New York program

Individuals serving in the following positions are specifically excluded from eligibility for the Part A & Part B incentive benefits:

* Elected officials;
* Officers described in specific sections of Executive Law, as listed in the legislation and any agency or department head appointed by the Governor, Comptroller or Attorney General;
* Appointed members of boards or commissions of participating employers, any of whose members are appointed by the Governor, or another State officer or body;


In the meantime, there seems to be a lot of questions on why Nappier seems to be being forced out and why the short list of names, actually the one name, being floated for Palm-Devines successor shouldn't be left up to the voters to choose next November.

In Nappier's letter below, she specifically mentions Adam Cloud as the choice Palm-Devine has mentioned as her replacement. She further states that Cloud, according to Palm-Devine, needs to start "learning the ropes". After Kathleen fought off numerous attempts by former Mayor Perez to tap the pension fund to balance the budget, she should know that the Treasurer's office is no place for on the job training.

Donna Nappier has spent over seven years in the Treasurer's Office and I would hope has no need to "learn the ropes"



Nappier Involuntary Voluntary Form

6 comments:

Honest Abe said...

So who exactly forced Donna out?

chris said...

Dear Donna:

Here's some words of wisdom for you: Live by sword, die by the sword. While you state that you work @ the will of the treasurer, you don't fully seem to grasp the concept. Kathleen hired you as favor to your sister, Denise. The favor has ended and for whatever reason she does not feel compelled to recommend you to complete her term. Get over it. That's the nature of politics. If you think you now qualify for Unemployment Benefits you are sadly mistaken. May I suggest that during your "forced" retirement you go back to school and take a professional writing course? The memo to Santiago is poorly written. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Anonymous said...

Donna never did any work in the Treasurer's office for her entire career, how could she possibly be able to take over for Ms. Palm. She took the package while the getting was good and just wanted to make it seem like she was more important than she ever was.

Denise said...

Dear Chris,

Here are a few facts that might be of interest to you. Hartford City Treasurer Kathleen Plam Devine's appointment of Donna Nappier as Assistant Treasurer was never viewed by Denise Nappier as a favor to her, notwithstanding Kathleen's previous employment as Assistant Treasurer when Denise served as Hartford City Treasurer. For a myriad of reasons, Denise believed then that Donna should decline Kathleen's offer and communicated the same to both of them.

Donna's association with Kathleen dates back to the early 1980's -- well before their City of Hartford association -- when both of them worked at the State Treasurer's Office. Donna headed a division of the treasury as Assistant Treasurer and Kathleen was the agency's top communications specialist. During that time, the two of them developed a professional relationship and grew to respect each other's talents and skills. In other words, Kathleen made an informed decision to hire Donna that was void of any influence peddling.

A final word to the wise. May I suggest that you visit or revisit the State of Connecticut laws governing unemployment compensation with implications for public officials who serve at the pleasure of their appointing authority. This matter involving Donna is not a fait accompli.

Here's wishing you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday season.

Sincerely,

Denise Nappier

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

Thanks Denise,

It is easy for people to sling allegations without identifying themselves, and they most likely have far more issues than anyone they might write about.

I think some people just expect everything political must be dirty and corrupt. In most cases it seems like it usually is, but there are still good honest people out there trying to do the right thing. Thank you for being one of them.

If Kathleen Palm and Donna Nappier, as well as others, weren't willing to stand up and do their jobs , the pension fund would have been raided on several occasions by Eddie Perez when he needed to try to balance the budget.

concerned taxpayer and voter said...

concerned taxpayer and voter

continued from previous posting:

ADVICE TO the powers to be;
City Council, govern with some dignity (at least put up a fa├žade), haven’t seen any sign of dignity yet; still waiting, Corporation Council, SMH… Mr. Mayor, we’ll see you in November, oh yeah he was adamant that he was not running, but he is, or is he… according the article in the Courant; “He has to” because, why; it gets better, he’s questioned the competency and qualifications of the 6 African American names that either announced they were running or was considering running for Mayor, let’s not forget when because of Perez’ down spiral, tripped into the Mayor’s Office, encouraged all the many qualified candidates’ of Hartford to run, then his true colors came out, out in a big way; he stated in the article, that of the names he heard mentioned, none of them were qualified or competent, really Mr. Mayor.. NONE, NADA, ZIPPO, what an ego. We already had a Mayor with a big one of those and look where it got us, on national news. It should be clear to black folks, he has no regard for you, can you believe the arrogance, insensitive, ignorance spouting from this Man; El Jefe, is he for real, I guess he got bit by the POWER BUG ….. Voters get your repellent out! Don’t worry Mr. Mayor for you; it’s not; “The British are coming, the British are coming”, it’s more like “The Dirt is coming, The Dirt is Coming”; things that make you go umm.

In advance to all of you, who are going to write a negative comment about this story as you have been open your eyes.

Concerned Taxpayer & Voter
Food for thought; what you do in the DARK always comes out in the LIGHT; God don’t sleep.