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Friday, April 19, 2013

TAKE THE VOTE AND LET'S MOVE ON

The old saying that "everything works out for the best" could probably  be about to come true in Hartford. Item number 8 on the agenda for Monday nights Council meeting is regarding the appointment of Saundra Kee-Borges as Chief Operating Officer for the City of Hartford. Sources are telling me that the votes on the Council are not there for Kee-Borges's ascension. So be it, take the vote and move on to a real search for a professional to run our City.

Kee-Borges has been Hartford's version of Captain Queeg at the helm of theUSS Caine for the last 10 months. According to Wikipedia Queeg was described as" Queeg is prone to eccentric behavior, From the first, he begins to make mistakes that endanger his ship. After refusing the assistance of his predecessor in command, he grounds the Caine on a muddy shoal his first time underway. He panics in a fog and nearly collides with a battleship, and passes the blame to his helmsman, starting a series of incidents that eventually results in a scripted court-martial "

Our ship, Hartford City Hall , is still stuck on that muddy shoal, and until a new Captains is brought to the helm, we will remain grounded, unable to make any forward progress. I recently had a conversation with Mayor Segarra and in my frustration, explained to him the number one rule of management. As a manager, you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. In Segarra's case, enough said.

Not everyone realizes when the time comes to call it a day, and in the case of Saundra Kee-Borges, the time has come.Many of the embarrassments currently facing Segarra have been created by his allegiance to his law school classsmate and friend. Loyalties that are definitely misplaced when it comes to protecting the interests of the people of Hartford.

In the case of one of the current issues that will most likely be a big black eye to this Administration , is Kee-Borges's  ignorance of an ordinance on the books preventing retirees from returning as City employees for any period greater than six months. In her capacity as Corporation Counsel should she not be aware of ordinances on the books:? Or at least one of the other attorney's in her office should have been. That's called management.Was it self serving for her to overlook Hartford's municipal code or just ignorance of Hartford's law , either way, we deserve better.

A Chief Operating Officer taking command of the operation she would have or should have had control of City spending on City credit cards before it blew up into a huge embarrassment that may eventually lead to a criminal investigation. And if Kee-Borges couldn't handle the task of proper management, the Finance Director who answers directly to her, is bound by the City Charter to review all transactions to verify their legitimacy. That's called management.

Overtime spending is something that any manager worth their weight tracks almost daily, not when it becomes a huge issue and requires the City Council to step in to put the brakes on. That's called management. And the resolution to the matter, the Council overriding Segarra's veto was a huge hit to Segarra's power, (if he actually had it to begin with)

Kee Borges, in her dual role as Corporation  Counsel and COO also created the SAMA land deal after ignoring Connecticut State law and then ignoring the concerns of Council members  who questioned her judgement and the legality of the issue.This also has the potential to become a criminal investigation drawing the Segarra Administration in because of a lack of management oversight.

Kee-Borges was also apparently responsible for the selection of her Deputy Cprporation Counsel, L. John Van Norden, enough said on that one

 I think the final straw for Council members in pulling their support for Kee-Borges was her e-mail regarding the mental stability of Councilman deJesus. Not a smart move, but again, everything works out for the best.

The creation of the previously non-existent Deputy Chief position in the Hartford Fire Department tailor made for her husband/partner/significant other Terry Waller was another move that drew question to Segarra's choices.

Call the vote and let's move on, it is time for this run to come to an end.

24 comments:

Catharine H. Freeman said...

The attorneys, myself included, are unionized. We certainly know what the ordinances we are often tasked with drafting and amending prescribe. This is just one of many many other duties we are tasked by this administration to handle on a rather narrow budget. At the end of the day as counselors we can merely give our advice and it is up to our clients to take it or leave it.

Bottomline, we as lawyers, some Hartford residents and taxpayers, take our civic duties very seriously.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

So if I am reading between the lines correctly, it sounds like the Administration was aware, or was made aware of the ordinance and chose to ignore it

Anonymous said...

Pedro used her to get everything he wanted and she got some goods for herself. Now he doesn't need her. She can be let go. Pedro knew what he was doing this is evident by the comments Attorney Freeman stated. No more need for her she gets kicked to the curve. He will try and bring in other sucker the former state rep Juan who has not practice law in atleast ten years to continue the foolishness in Hartford. They all must go.Watch Juan comes in some will demand it because he is Latino and the ball will continue to roll. To bad Hartford you got fooled with Pedro he is no better than Eddie. Gotcha!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Letters to non-classified personnel who live outside Hartford have started going out. How can the council support this law while not supporting the law limiting S K-B's extended position in violation of ordinance?

Similarly, non-classified staff working for the Board of Education, which is legally a city department, are not being subjected to the residency law. Sounds like arbitrary application of this law.

Anonymous said...

Boards of Education serve the educational interests of the state and are for all purposes, agents of the state. Conn General Statutes, specifically 10-155f, "residency requirements prohibited".

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - 10-155f prohibits residency requirements for teachers. Non Classified staff are not considered teachers, and would therefore be subject to Hartford's ordinance.

Anonymous said...

She is a disaster, her own home was in foreclosure, her law firm was on the brink of bankruptcy an she has made a mess of city Hall, both as the Corporation Counsel and the COO, she can't leave City hall soon enough and take her cowardly husband with her

Anonymous said...

As much as I believe the city would be better off without Saundra Kee-Borges, the reality is that the mayor needs someone of that skill set leading the city. Of course that should not be her. As this blog has pointed out, the city's actions to keep her in this position are illegal. It is frankly mind boggling that the city can be terminating individuals who are allegedly in violation of one law and allow her to stay in violation of another.

There is clearly a breakdown between the council and administrative leadership. Removing Kee-Bourges is a start to fixing that.

Amend the Ordinance said...

The letters that went out to the non classified positions that are not dept. heads is unnecessary. I bet that not be of those employees were notifed or aware of the requirement under the city ordnance. So, lets gather all of the faithful dedicated employees who have served the city for years and just strong arm them into moving into e city, it reminds me of what happened during WW2 when we rounded up all of the Asian Americans. Really, is the city resorting to this tactic. I guess the unemployment rate will increase and the mayors budget gap will get filled, and no work will get done.
Amend this ordinance and remove the reference to the unclassified positions that are not Dept. Heads. Don't penalize the hard working dedicated loyal employees because someone failed to do their job by not knowing the city ordinances. Kevin please bring this to President Wooden's attention so it can get fixed, another embassament by the administration don't let innocent individuals become victims of the city's incompetence it would destroy families and lives.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

Anonymous 10:20pm,

what does it matter? Mayor Segarra has refused to enforce the residency requirement against two of his department heads who he clearly know's don't live in Hartford, Jose Colon-Rivas and Andrew Jaffe, how can he selectively choose now to enforce residency has been ignored. I think they call that "past practice" when it goes before a jury to assess damages.

What specifically is the ordinance they are enforcing? I can only find the requirement for department heads to reside in Hartford

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous said:"Pedro used her to get everything he wanted and she got some goods for herself. Now he doesn't need her..."
In response to this one:
Who is using who? Whenever Pedro appointed SKB everything was Ok but after she has leaded the "boat to sink" now it is about ethnic background. How convenient!!!
Pedro trusted Saundra no matter her ethnicity; he trusted a friend and she betrayed that trust... by getting some goods for her? I do think the matter goes beyond "some goods'. She has used City Hall as her personal employment agency for her own friends and family. She has created a position for her fianc√© and his family , and who knows what else...The woman is a city official supposedly hired to protect city budget and tax payer's money, to oversees laws and policies...and as an attorney she is no innocent. She did not set an example of what is a moral and professional behavior, so she has trapped herself by not following city policies and laws. Now Pedro is facing embarrassment due to his bad choice after trusting his so called "loyal friend". I will vote for her to leave City of Hartford and go somewhere else to get some "goods for herself". She has already gotten from the City of Hartford a luxurious pension to live on. I don’t understand how she can jeopardize not only her reputation but also Pedro's and all due to greed!!!

Anonymous said...

In response to Attorney Freeman:
When people oversees or protect wrong doing that is also called being a "pasive participant" of that wrong doing. There is no justification for trying to use The City Of Hartford for personal gain. SKB was not hired for civic duties, she is a highly paid city official, hired to serve in the best interest of the City Of Hartford Citizens.

Anonymous said...

Sure we have already got a taste of what is to have unionized attorneys within the City of Hartford. In the real world most attorneys are well known not for their civic activities but for their lucrative work. When administrators and counselors hired also misused the budget, it causes the budget to get narrow. At the end that is called "rotten" administration...

Anonymous said...

"It is frankly mind boggling that the city can be terminating individuals who are allegedly in violation of one law and allow her to stay in violation of another"
Wow,this statement's quote has described the problem so well.
SKB sould be terminated . WE THE PEOPLE deserve better.

Amend the Ordinance said...

Kevin here's the ordinance they are relying on:

ARTICLE XVIII. - OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
Sec. 2-850. - Residency requirements.
(A)
All council and Mayor appointees and Unclassified Employees employed by the City, shall maintain a continuous residence in the City during the period of such appointment or employment. This section shall not apply to new employees or appointees during the first six (6) months of such employment or appointment. If such individual ceases to be a bona fide resident of the City once the residency has been established or fails to become a bona fide resident within six (6) months of the appointment or employment, the Council shall, by a vote of seven (7) members, send notice to the mayor that pursuant to the provisions of Chapter V, section 3(c) of the Hartford Charter, the office or position of the individual who has failed to remain a bona fide resident of Hartford shall thereupon become vacant, and such appointment or employment shall terminate.

Bona fide resident is defined as:

(1)
An employee who has a Hartford mailing address. A post office address does not qualify as a bona fide Hartford address;

(2)
Be a registered Hartford voter; and

(3)
If the employee owns a motor vehicle, said motor vehicle must be registered in the City of Hartford

(B)
The provisions of subsection (A) above shall not apply to individuals who were employees and appointees at the time of the effective date of this section.

(Ord. No. 07-05, 8-8-05; Ord. No. 38-11, 7-11-11)

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't matter if the Mayor gets rid of S-K-B or not , for her it wouldn't matter either, she will just collect another retirement check ontop of what she is getting already, did everyone forget that she is double dipping the City, and as for her so called husband Terry, well he's been on the F.D long enough, so he too would get a nice heffty retirment.

Anonymous said...

To C.H. Freeman, NARROW BUDGET??? I don't understand what you mean by narrow budget, when the Administration Budget has been totally depilated and misused by the same Administrators that were hire to over see it. If you keep Saundra and the other illegal employees on the City budget (there are at least a few other employees that are illegally working and collecting paychecks and pensions, they know who they are. Therefore the NARROW BUDGET will get even more narrower, she is one of the top paid Attorney, she takes home most of the budget including her fat pension. Maybe, many of the attorneys are unionized for only one purpose, to PROFIT and to cover for one another, perhaps in fear of loosing their jobs or fear of Saundra. She should be shown her way out of the door and not be allowed to return. Disregarding such important ordinance is grounds for termination. She has created enough damaged and has use the City in a way that it is was convenient for her own sole and personal gain. Saundra was a past City Manager with many years of experience, (she was bad then and worse now) she should have known the ordinances better then all her staff. She was supposed to be representing our City Taxpayers, not just her husband, friends, and neighbors. To say the least, she does not own property in Hartford. Saundra chose to remain quiet as it was to her benefit. I am quite sure that if it was some other lower class employee, the rules would have been applied. What is her defense? IGNORANCE? Ignorance is not an excuse; she saw this as an opportunity to gain leadership, manipulated her best friend and loyal friend Pedro with her innocent look. She took part in the removal of Panagore and Valda. She let the staff abuse the city credit cards, overtime, etc, as well took part and benefit from all of this herself. Pedro should have known better, but he is afraid to release her because she is his loyal, best friend and personal confidant, Pedro you are at fault; you were also the President of the Council. Pedro should have been very well aware of the City Ordinance as well. What a disgrace and embarrassment for the City of Hartford. A staff of Big top lawyers and the UNIONS are being asked to make concessions. What is going on???? To the City Council, its time to take a stand and protect the Taxpayers of Hartford, not a greedy attorney that is out just for her self, Vote for a new administration to help save our ailing city. We need honest and hard working people, not greedy and selfish, self center individuals. Think before you take that vote, the City is hurting and you the Council are the only one that can make a difference. As it is obvious the Mayor staffs right now are unable to help the City Taxpayers. They are not able to make a decision based in loyalty.

Anonymous said...

From the 9/28/01 Courant:

Ms. Kee Borges has been city manager for almost eight years. The city bureaucracy is in shambles. Some key hires were made only recently. There have been scandals during her watch and an uneven delivery of services. Problems have piled up on her desk. Meddling council members bypass her to micromanage city workers on issues of importance to them.

How poorly the city is managed was again dramatically demonstrated this week when it took an ambulance crew an unacceptable 13 minutes to respond to an emergency call to help a wounded man.

Clearly, the manager's record has not been good enough for her to merit a contract extension.

Indeed, she has indicated that she will leave when her contract expires in December. Let her say so again, and in no uncertain terms. An interim manager can take over at that time until the new administration decides what it wants to do. The city charter provides for the corporation counsel to assume the manager's job in the event of a vacancy.

Ms. Kee Borges, who is paid $125,000 a year, reportedly has been angling for a severance package, including her city car. It also has been rumored that some of her powerful friends have considered trying to enhance her pension benefits. That would be an outrage.

Anonymous said...

Who has triple dipped more then ms Borges.

For whom the bell tolls said...

Today is the day, lets see if this council has the bite to go with their bark. My question is how priceless is the look going to be on Pedro's face when she doesn't get the votes and his "friend" is out of a job. Will the veins be popping out of his neck like they were when he lied about paying half of the dinner bill, or, will he run and hide and cry in his office with Jared in tow, or will they go to Salute for a farewell dinner for Sandy. As Jared would say drinks are on me (actually the city).

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see what happens tonight. After handing out letters to the residency ordinance "violators" it will be interesting to see if the council will hold accountability here in SKBs case. We may lose several amazing employees because they cannot afford to sell homes, uproot kids and turn their lives upside down for a job they may get booted from by the next mayor, but unless council stands up, we will have a COO who is willing to violate the law and the budget constraints to help herself and her family but is willing to advise the mayor to layoff rank and file employees. It's no wonder the city is suffering.

Anonymous said...

They cannot enforce this after ignoring it for folks on the books already. Maybe for new hires yes. Past practice speaks volumes in labor suits. Can't wait to see the lawsuits and the huge payouts as a result. Another fine mess by this administration. Corporation counsel? What counsel is my question. The blind leading the blind here folks.

Anonymous said...

SKB should be taken to court and she should be accountable for all the mess she has created. For less than SKB has done someone has been fired from personnel office .

Anonymous said...

In the next Council meeting, we are hoping that they make the right decision and do the right thing.

The right thing would be to get rid of you, your days as being the top Attorney are counted and we hope that Council do the right.You had a great position but you let greediness get in the way. If you were truly a law abiding citizen you would have resigned while ahead of the game, but it is obvious that you do not have any dignity and or loyalty to Pedro. You want him to fall, cause you are definitely making him look like a fool as well as a liar. Shame on you.