Wednesday, May 8, 2013
GOING DOWNHILL FAST
It wasn't just the choice to whip out the old city credit card to pay for the caviar on the City dime. It goes much beyond that to a pattern of bad choices. Most people wondered how Segarra's Chief of Staff was issued a City vehicle after his personal vehicle sat behind City hall for weeks on a couple flat tires , until it was finally towed away.
Once he was issued a City car by Segarra, his behavior with it became an issue. The vehicle, former Chief Daryl K. Roberts SUV that he turned in when he retired, was spotted by police officers zipping around the City "Code 3", lights and siren blaring, reportedly to get to Happy Hour on time. Segarra actually stepped up that time and the car was taken away, only to be replaced a short time later by a new SUV.
Kupiec is the first Chief of Staff that I can recall that has been issued a City Vehicle. I know John Bazzano and it pains me to say, Matt Hennessey never had one either
The fact that the Connecticut State Capitol almost goes to Defcon 4 when Kupiec enters the building should have been another red flag for Segarra. Nonetheless, he still appointed Kupiec as his Chief of Staff. It's never a good thing when your hand picked Chief of Staff had previously jumped ship as a trusted worker on Governor Malloy's campaign to go to his opponent Ned Lamonts camp. Not everyone has a short memory in the political game. Relationships matter.
The culmination of the road to disaster was the New Years Eve Dinner charges,.It was hardly the first indicator that poor judgement was an issue. The decision to accept a $20,000 raise when the City was , and is, heading for financial meltdown should have raised red flags. It wasn't going to go unnoticed and that raise alone is more than what many Hartford residents take home in a year.
The sense of entitlement by all of those close to Segarra is clearly evident. It is ironic that a short time ago at election time Segarra made a huge point that he was leaving his Mercedes at home and driving a Prius since Hartford was moving toward being a green city in everything from its cleaning supplies to the vehicle its Mayor was driving. Surprise, surprise, shortly after the election the Mayor went back to a brand new SUV and his entire "Cabinet" are now driving new SUV's. So much for election year examples.
Although much has been made about the New Years Eve Dinner, it is most likely the tip of the iceberg. Numerous charges for food and beverages on Kupiec's card are still undocumented as far as whether they were legit City business or frat boy wannabe social favors. The latter appears more likely due to the lack of documentation.
Also not a lot is being said about the $30,000 dollars that is unallocated or unsubstantiated from last years close of business according to the audit report. The fact that virtually all of the City travel was essentially unverified is a problem also. And sadly, if Segarra's chief of Staff and COO were minding the store, accountability would have been an every day thing, not a rush to provide documentation when the auditors came knocking.
The "slippery nipple" COO should have known better after her 2000 hit from the Courant for the exact same behavior. I guess we can give the Chief of Staff a little pass because he has never had a real job and this can be chalked up to on the job training. But maybe it is time that they look elsewhere besides Hartford City Hall for their OJT.Read more on the "slippery nipple" COO here
Pedro, how much more are you going to allow? Really, I think we all would like to know what your plan is to stop the bleeding. Did it really need to come to this?