I guess it should come as no surprise to any of us that have weathered Hartford's ups and downs, what our City elected officials say and do are two completely different things.
Everywhere I go I keep hearing them say "Hartford needs jobs for its residents" yet surprisingly, or should I say not surprisingly, that doesn't seem to be the case. It seems like the people that have hung in here and weathered the storm and actually believe in Hartford are shown the back seat when it comes to jobs.
A perfect example is Mayor Segarra's office, sadly. I had questioned the Mayor when his first appointment of a Chief of Staff was not even someone that lived in Hartford. I was told that was short term and he was going to move into Hartford, apparently that never happened. Now a new Chief of Staff who hails from Woodstock, Connecticut has been appointed. I doubt that many Hartford residents could even tell you where Woodstock is on a map, never mind associate the problems Hartford faces with any similar issues in Woodstock.
And just for FYI, Woodstock is in the Northeast corner of the state, near I-395 and the Rhode Island border, population 7,909. Their claim to fame is that Woodstock is a rural, historic community with an agricultural background. Maybe if we decide to start exporting Hartford's dairy products or trees from Hartford's Christmas tree farms, we can emulate Woodstock.
Segarra's new Chief of Staff apparently has extensive management experience that qualifies him to move Hartford's urban agenda forward. Apparently he was a para-legal and office manager at Seligman and Katz for a period of time. Seligman and Katz is the same firm that represented Hartford's corrupt Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson in her criminal matters. That experience could possibly prove helpful in identifying additional criminal behavior remaining at City Hall.
It has been reported that he was also a clerk for a Legislative Committee. He also has been involved in several campaigns and reportedly was the Deputy Campaign Manager for the Lamont Campaign. I would feel better if he was associated with the Malloy campaign, Hartford could use a winner, but oh well. Luckily for us he does work cheap though if the candidates filings are accurate. After Matt Hennessy and his Harvard trip and six figure salary,ESI bonus and lobbying contracts, hopefully the 27 year old Chief will be starting at the low end of the budget ladder. This is Hartford though, so that is doubtful.
To view reported payments to Segarra's new Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec, click here. Under recipient name, enter Kupiec and hit search.
I know Kupiec is young, but he also seems to work cheap, which will be a good thing at budget time. He apparently was paid a little over $5,000 by the Lamont Campaign for his reported role of Deputy Campaign Manager. Those numbers pale in comparison to Hartford's other "political consultants" like the Feltman's, Mantilla's, Arroyo's and McDonald's who have learned to work the system for every political penny available. But like I said before, he is young and I'm sure if he hangs around City Hall enough, he'll learn.
Kupiec also shows payments from Fonfara campaigns, but even those were small.
Hopefully Mr. Kupiec will be relocating to Hartford soon. It only seems right that someone who is going to be responsible for Hartford's urban agenda should be living that urban agenda like the rest of us have been, for better or worse.
I think if we had required that more department heads live in Hartford, as required, we would be seeing much different results. I called our Public Works Director Kevin Burnham almost two weeks ago and still haven't had the courtesy of a return call yet. Unfortunately it isn't an isolated incident, I have yet to receive a return call from Burnham anytime I have left a message for him. Maybe the new Chief of Staff can remind Burnham what customer service is and who he actually works for.
I also find it interesting that when it comes to the issue of jobs for Hartford residents, we continue to turn a blind eye to the leadership of the MDC. The MDC could be pumping billions of dollars into Hartford's economy and eventually into Hartford households. Yet, Hartford's leaders seem to have given a free pass to the leadership at the MDC when it comes to demanding jobs for Hartford's residents.
That free pass in combination with the MDC Chairman's "get out of jail free" card continues to overlook the people who actually live in Hartford. If the Mayor was serious about reform, he would have called for MDC Chairman William DiBella's resignation. When it comes to jobs for Hartford's residents on the MDC's Clean Waters project, we need an advocate that actually lives in Hartford and truly serves the people of Hartford. I doubt that the Mayor or anyone on the Council can honestly look at a Hartford resident and say that they believe William DiBella is a Hartford resident and even lives in the MDC's service area as required by law.
Hartford's Mayor appoints the MDC Chair and the City Council ratifies it.
The requirement of residency is a conversation I have had personally with the Mayor. when he appointed Burnham as the Public Works Director I questioned it. When Hartford Police Sergeant Andrew Jaffe retired from HPD and was then appointed as the Emergency Communications Director, I questioned it. Mayor Segarra assured me that a condition of Jaffe's appointment was that he would take up residency in Hartford within 30 days. Does anyone want to bet on whether that has happened?
As Hartford's unemployment climbs toward 20%, if it hasn't already exceeded that, we need to focus on real jobs for Hartford's residents. No more lip service, no more political rhetoric. It's all about the JOBS Mayor and about rewarding those residents that truly believe in Hartford and are willing to fight the good fight to change things. Too many people see Hartford as a paycheck and a means to a great retirement, and the higher up the ladder, the richer the gravy train is.
And Mayor, when you told me last week I would be excited about the changes you were going to make.....I'm still waiting.