Saturday, January 29, 2011
ROBLES ENDORSEMENT FIGURES PROMINENTLY IN HPD UNION ELECTION
Many Hartford voters and residents as well as many Hartford Police officers were surprised, and in most cases upset, when they saw a campaign flyer claiming that the Hartford Police Union "endorses Hector Robles". The mailer was sent out by the Robles campaign for the August Democratic primary. The headline proclaimed Robles's "honesty, integrity and making our neighborhoods safe".
Most were upset that these claims were being made at the same time that Robles was the subject of an Internal Investigation into claims of larceny and fraud against him for his scheme to double bill the City for hours worked.
One resident who was also challenging Robles for his legislative seat, Alyssa Peterson, questioned the Unions decision and whether it was proper. Many HPD union members also questioned the action and felt embarrassed by the timing of the endorsement as the allegations against Robles were becoming public.
Peterson explained that she questioned HPD Union President Richard Rodriguez and union Vice President Richard Holton. According to Peterson, during a meeting they claimed that it was a decision of the Union's four member executive committee. Subsequent to that meeting, at least one member of the executive committee claimed there was never a discussion or meeting regarding the endorsement and it was something the union president did on his own.
That decision proved to be a major issue in the recent HPD Union election held last week. Both Holton and Rodriguez exchanged barbs back and forth regarding the Robles endorsement. Several police officers that I spoke with claimed that normally the endorsement wouldn't have been an issue, but that the timing was very poor. They felt that endorsing Robles while he was under potential criminal investigation reflected poorly on the rank and file members of the Union and put them all under a cloud of suspicion for approving of Robles's potential illegal behavior.
In the end, Rodriguez was voted out and Holton prevailed by close to 3 to 1 vote margin. Unofficially, sources have told me the vote was approximately 300 votes for Holton to Rodriguez's 80 votes.