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Wednesday, March 20, 2013


As the City of Hartford tries to close a projected $70 million dollar budget deficit, some are starting to question if there is any financial management at City Hall. City spending seems to be continuing "business as usual " as large charges continue to be racked up monthly on City credit cards, many of the charges are for items that are far from necessary. Many of the charges seem to be large amounts for food and beverages purchased by City employees at local bars and restaurants.

The city credit cards or "P-Cards" as they are referred to at City Hall seem to be routinely used without much oversight as to how or why they are being used. Recent purchases included flat screen televisions for the the Mayor's Chief of Staff;'s office as well as a flat screen television for the Office of the Mayor's Communication's director as well.. According to sources, cable television was also installed so they could watch the TV's in their offices.

Council President Shawn Wooden is expected to request an audit of the P-card use as well as P-card spending policies at today's monthly Audit Commission meeting. Another area that has been a chronic problem is the issuance of bonuses to City employees. The ESI program as it is known seems to be a backdoor route to circumvent issuing raises to employees, many of them who are already at the top of the salary for their position.

 It just seems that city employee's know what their salary is when they take a position and a $150,000 annual salary isn't enough to keep someone happy in a cash strapped city? One of Mayor Segarra's confidants and former Chief of Staff, Jose Colon -Rivas is paid an annual salary of $152,250 as Director of Family and Children and Recreation Services. Colon Rivas was issued bonuses of almost $12,000 above his salary in 2012.

 How can they issue bonuses knowing that we may be forced to lay other employees off due to budget shortfalls. And all indications that Mayor Segarra's buddy doesn't even live in Hartford, at least not at the address he claims to be living at. The list of ESI bonuses are below. Some that should raise eyebrows are those to Colon-Rivas , Saundra Kee-Borges who is not only collecting a pension from the City as well as her current salary and a large bonus of $4352.63. I guess a love for the City comes with a hefty pricetag.

 Also the Bonus to L. John Van Norden of $2625.00 seems a good deal for a City Attorney who isn't even recognized as an attorney in CT and can't practice law in Connecticut. I think he might owe us a refund rather than accepting a bonus.

The interesting part though is that your viewpoints must drastically change when you go from being a councilmember who frequently butted heads with a Mayor headed for prison, to when you actually become Mayor yourself. The following quote was directly from our current Mayor, former Councilman Pedro Segarra, regarding ESI bonuses handed out by former Mayor Eddie Perez "We have people losing their jobs, we have people that don't get that similar treatment and we are in deep financial straits here," said Councilman Pedro Segarra. "For anyone to think they can run our city like a Fortune 500 company making millions in profit -- it doesn't match our current reality."    You can read the entire article here



Out of time said...

And you wonder why the city is going to hell in a hand basket. The appointments the Mayor makes and the ESI's is tragic. SKB as the new COO at a cost of 164k plus a pensionand all of those other high paid do nothing executives is disturbing. Two assistants in HR making 94 k each wow, a registrars of votes who can't keep a budget, wow. Get your house in order before someone comes and takes it over. You created this problem you need to fix it withou going after the rank and file employees. It's unreal to propse budgets year after year with spending increases and a flat line for revenue, all those props at the state of the city will not pull out of the ditch you dug for yourself. Start cutting the fat and be real not a political hack.

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, Sandy Borges moving up? That means HFD's Terry Waller will soon be moving up with her "assistance" once again!

Anonymous said...

So, does anyone who bothers to attend Pedro's "people's budget" meetings ask him about this or if this practice is going to continue? Here's a couple questions that I have; where does this money come from? From the department budget of each benefited employee? From a special slush fund? Also, are there any employees who, knowing the financial position the city is in, politely declined the bonus?

Might as well turn the lights and heat back on in the old grand jury room. The faces may change but the games still the same.