Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


WFSB's Hallie Jackson will be leaving the Hartford area to accept a new position with the Hearst Television Group in Washington D.C.. Her assignment will be covering Federal government and political stories for almost 30 Hearst stations.

Hallie's last day in Hartford will be May 13th. Good luck to Hallie and her husband Doug


In a vote held today by the Hartford Police Union membership, their tentative new contract was approved with over 300 voting in favor and 11 against according to sources.

The contract will now go before the Hartford City Council at Monday's meeting for their approval.

The new agreement is the result of negotiations conducted over the last 22 months since the previous contract expired


Last Friday, Jeff cohen at WNPR reported on more raises that were being given out to top level employees at Hartford city Hall. Those raises were in addition to the Mayor's own raise as well as the $20,000 raise given to his Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec. Click on the link in the right column to go to Jeff Cohen's blog to read his articles

According to Jeff's article, Hartford's Chief Operating Officer David Panagore stated "As a management philosophy, it's within the confines of the budget to be able to keep management and upper level staff focused and be able to keep them happy at their work because certainly the demands and the stress during these financial times just continues to build."

I can understand the stress though. Luckily only upper management feels the stress, imagine if our police officers, firefighters or even teachers had to deal with stress on a daily basis, imagine how much that could potentially cost us.

Newsflash Mayor, you might want to consider the stress levels of the taxpayers of Hartford who have to pay for the raises for these unfortunate, over-stressed city employees , most of them making over $100,000 a year in salary. It must be tough, I certainly can feel for them.

I guess those other residents that don't have the luxury of over inflated city salaries will just have to continue to decide whether to pay their steadily increasing tax bills or pay for their medications or put food on the table.

I guess it is just part of the shared sacrifice we all must buy into for the good of the Mayor.

But now, at the same time that the Mayor is trying to sell Hartford's unions on carrying their weight and being part of the solution,the Mayor actually calls it "shared sacrifice", the latest list of bonuses from City Hall is available. The largest bonus issued, $15,000 was given to one of the Mayor's "cabinet advisers" Jose Colon-Rivas, who also receives a six figure salary already as the City's health director.

In good times, I might actually be able to support the bonuses, but in a cash strapped city facing a $56 million dollar deficit next year and the potential for an estimated budget gap exceeding $150 million in 2017, there is no other term that applies other than "reckless spending".

In the Interdepartmental memo below detailing the justification for the bonus for Colon-Rivas it is stated that he has " improved the quality of service rendered by his department...generated savings of revenue for the City, improved service to the public in a manner not achievable by established procedures and processes". Isn't that what a department head is actually paid a salary to do? Do we really need to pay someone a $15,000 bonus for doing the job they are expected to do?

I still am unable to comprehend how you can possibly explain "shared sacrifice" to any City employee when they see raises and bonuses being paid out while they are asked to give back.

It just isn't right or honest and definitely doesn't show good faith.

Colon Rivas ESI Letter 0001

2012 ESI spreadsheet0001

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


The recently formed Hartford Charter Revision Commission held its first meeting, or at least something that was supposed to look like a meeting, tonight.

It just seems like a bad start when at least three of the appointed Commissioner's are a half hour late for the 6:00PM start. City Clerk John Bazzano eventually started the meeting after waiting for the tardy Commissioner's to arrive, When they didn't show up a roll call was held, they had a quorum and the meeting began. Commissioner's John Kennelly, Corey Brinson and Sharon Patterson-Stahlings eventually all strode in to the meeting.

The "political" wrangling then began and the majority of the meeting was comprised of debate over whether to elect a chair or just select a temporary chair. This debate kind of surprised me since I would think that they would have appointed a permanent chair and then get down to business. I know, it is Hartford.

The next step surprised me even more. John Kennelly, who has made it known that he wants to be the Commission Chair, but apparently doesn't have the votes, nominated Corporation Counsel Saundra Kee-Borges as temporary chair. Now I'm not an attorney, but Kee-Borges sat alongside Bazzano and made it clear that she was there to answer legal questions as the Commission gets rolling.

Like I said, I'm not an attorney, but that would appear to me to be a clear conflict of interest. How can you both advise as the City's legal counsel and serve as Chair. Is she able to overrule herself on legal issues? (Kee-Borges is not an appointed member of the Commission)

It was also interesting that someone who stopped in to the meeting asked me "where are the community people?". I was asking myself the same question , but I'm just skeptical of the process anyway.

Hopefully the next meeting will be a little more productive, and maybe the Commissioner's appointed will at least take their role seriously and at least arrive on time.


This posting is probably not something that will interest a lot of people, but I think it is significant.

The entire political process starts on the local level with the Town committee's, both Democrat and Republican. The importance of the local town committee members becomes even more apparent when contested elections are on the horizon, like they are now. The conventions are taking place at this time with the "delegates". mostly elected town committee members with a few others thrown in,meeting to select endorsed candidates for everything from State Central representatives to Registrar of Voters to US Senators.

It's interesting when you are walking through the grocery store or pumping gas and the cellphone rings and Susan Bysiewicz or Congressman Chris Murphy are on the other end asking for your support. If you really think about it, the people that the "delegates" eventually support will most likely be our elected officials for some time. It is not a decision to be taken lightly and I think we owe it to our fellow residents to make these decisions based on some intelligent reasoning.

Tough questions need to be asked and I don't think we can shirk our responsibility by being shy or just playing political gamesmanship. Character matters, and we have more than enough "characters" in politics, we need to start finding people of character.

Tonight history was made when three of Hartford's Democratic Town Committee's worked together. The 1st District, the 5th District (which now includes all of Windsor) and the 7th District( Asylum Hill and Blue Hills areas) actually worked together for the benefit of Hartford. (** Windsor was also instrumental as well as a vote from the 3rd District allocated due to redistricting)

State Central representatives are selected by State Senatorial districts. Each district has two representatives, one female and one male. Well over a decade ago, some have told me 16 years ago,north Hartford lost both of its state central seats. The 2nd Senatorial District, which encompasses North Hartford, Bloomfield and Windsor, was represented by one rep from Bloomfield and one from Windsor.

Tonight, both of those seats were returned to Hartford. It may not seem to mean a lot, but to me it is significant that three groups of people were able to work together, putting personalities, agendas and even grudges aside to do what we promised the voters that actually turned out and voted for us. I hope it continues in the spirit of doing what is best for Hartford and making sure our neighbors actually have a unified voice speaking for them.

The female representative is a person that I am very proud to work alongside as co-spokesperson for the 7th District. Vicki Fennell is a relative newcomer to the political process, but she is quickly finding her stride, is extremely organized and truly seems to understand that she has an obligation to work to make Hartford a better place.

The entire 7th District group seems to be energetic and ready to work together and bring about change, as we all promised when we were campaigning. It is a good feeling to see the entire group interacting like adults and seeing the consensus building and common goals being moved forward by such a diverse group.

The male rep elected is not a newcomer to Hartford politics but most likely is not a "familiar" political face. Jay Mullarkey is the spokesperson for the 1st District, (primarily Hartford's West end area). Jay has served the Hartford Democratic Town Committee as Treasurer for years. He stepped aside this year but still serves as the assistant treasurer. Jay strikes me as the type that prefers to be more low key, behind the scenes making things happen than being out in front. His efforts were instrumental in Hartford winning both seats tonight and his subtle "bridge building" can only benefit Hartford.

Like I said in the beginning, it may seem insignificant, but the little steps are the things that are going to restore integrity and respect to Hartford as a city and its political process after the stains of corruption start to wash away.

Next week the South end districts will be going through the same process we went through tonight. Can those two state central seats also come back to Hartford? Currently only one is filled by Hartford.They will have a few more challenges though as they will also be tested in their choices for State representative in the 4th District and the 6th District. (More on that in a later posting)

We are fortunate in the 7th District in the fact that we have a very capable incumbent who, as far as I know, is not being challenged. State Representative Doug McCrory is also a member of our 7th District town committee. I don't think there will be any challenge in the 1st District either, where freshman legislator Matt Ritter will be running for his second term.

Monday, April 16, 2012


The chart above is directly from Mayor Segarra's budget book distributed today. Can you see a problem here? Yet there seems to be no talk of cutting spending. A PDF version of the chart is also below for easier viewing

Mayor Segarra rolled out his budget proposal for fiscal year 2012-2013 today at City Hall. One of the major points outlined to close next years budget gap of at least $54 million dollars might be somewhat questionable though.

Both COO David Panagore and Mayor Segarra explained that at least $45 million dollars in money owed to the City by the State of Connecticut will ease the city's budget woes. The money is apparently from school building projects, according to Panagore and Segarra, and is going to be paid up by the State of Connecticut and spread out at the rate of $9 million dollars per year over the next five years.

The only problem is, according to sources, that high level staffers in the Malloy Administration tonight are saying that this is news to them. I asked David Panagore this afternoon if anyone had contacted the State of Connecticut and if they were in agreement that the money was owed to Hartford. I never really got an answer, but according to my sources, it doesn't seem that Governor Malloy is going to be cutting a check anytime soon.

So a word of advice to Hartford's taxpayer's, don't start celebrating the "only" 3.5 mill tax increase just yet, it might get worse.

And be sure to check back tomorrow for more examples of how your tax dollars are being spent by Hartford City Hall.

Budget Gap Graph