As I Keep hearing more and more about Hartford's Budget struggles, I keep thinking what would happen if Hartford was actually run like a business? Accountability for job performance, requiring timely performance, everything that would keep someone employed in the private sector.
This started occurring to me as I sat through the Hartford Internal Audit Commission meeting this afternoon . I listened to Hartford's Acting COO, Saundra Kee-Borges bob and weave as she was asked some tough questions about the recent P-Card report.
She explained that many of the missing receipts were actually always in the Finance Department in a shoe box on a shelf. They weren't really missing. WHAT? A shoebox on a shelf, yes you read that right. A half a billion dollar a year operation stores their receipts in a shoebox on a shelf.
I then remembered the original report that detailed the Finance Director Julio Molleda essentially being asleep at the switch and allowing these problems to occur under his watch..Yes the travel policy violations, the P-card shoebox on a shelf deal, the MDM Golf letter of Credit, All Molleda as he continues to collect his six figure salary.
You can hear some great things at Audit Commission meetings. That letter of credit thing was discussed a couple months ago.
Apparently Molleda , in conjunction with the Office of the Corporation Counsel (yes, if you are paying attention, that is also a familiar name,( Saundra Kee-Borges) Apparently when MDM Golf was awarded the contract to manage( manage being a legal term, what it may better be called is a criminal act) Anyway, MDM was required to put up a letter of credit for $300,000 to ensure that they performed under their contract.
The six figure salary earners were again asleep at the switch and allowed the letter of credit to expire and it was never renewed , so now the tax payers are left holding the bag and the council just approved dumping $10 million into the 2 courses since MDM has run them into the ground.
Even worse is the flagrant violations of the City Charter. At today's Audit Commission meeting Mayor Pedro Segarra identified Juan Figueroa as his Chief of Staff. Wait a second, aren't we already paying one who won't leave? Jared Kupiec still hasn't announced his departure date from City dis-service. So is Figueroa working for free? I doubt it. The Charter allows Segarra one Chief of Staff. No big deal though, we can eliminate another Police position to cover the salaries.
As long as no one is paying attention, Kupiec can extend his departure and roll over his six weeks vacation time he gets July 1st , that should only amount to $10 or $12 thousand based on his current salary. Hang in there Jared, no one is looking, just please make sure to return the I-pads and all the electronics. And feel free to keep the City car as long as you need, It is part of the Administration's Economic Development plan. If you can't get around to Happy Hour, our businesses might suffer.
And as far as the COO position. How long will this farce continue? The Hartford City Council essentially took a vote of no confidence in the Segarra Administration when they refused to approve Kee -Borges as COO. Now what will it take to find her replacement? six months, a year, how long will Segarra be allowed to run his temp employment service out of the Mayor's Office for Al Ilg, I guess it is not that bad though, at $80.00 per hour how much police overtime would that add up to?
Who paid for Segarra to find his first COO? And who paid for his previous Chief of Staff searches? Isn't that the claim that was made when Figueroa was brought on board. "Special Assistant to the Mayor for the Chief of Staff selection process" I think it was called.
Let's call it what it is, "let's keep Juan happy until we can slide him in as Corporation Counsel and no one will notice he didn't get it in the first place".
All of this incompetence adds up , all as we are talking about selling liens on residences and potentially forcing people out of their homes to close a budget gap. Kudos to the Council for putting the brakes on that tonight.
The list of the incompetence costs can go on and on. Don't forget the $60,000 spent on a national search for a police Chief, even though the right pick was right here among us. The dollars spent for outside legal opinions when we have a room full of City lawyers that have to look out the window to see which way the wind is blowing to determine how their opinions will go, these all add up.
I can go on and on, but again we need to start using some solid business principals to manage this City and accountability needs to be at the top of the list. Not everyone is cut out for the jobs they are hired for, proper managers know how to identify that and move on. Apparently not in Hartford.