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Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Last week Jenna Carlesso from the Courant wrote an article about Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra's attempt to restructure his administration. Here is the article in case you didn't read it.

For anyone who follows Hartford politics and the Mayor, it is pretty clear that a cosmetic makeover won't work. It is time for life saving emergency surgery if Segarra is going to have any chance of redeeming his leadership role as Hartford's Mayor.

Segarra's administration , it might be said, has its share of "nice people", Segarra being one of them. But nice doesn't cut it when you are entrusted to run a corporation with over a half a billion dollar annual budget. Nice doesn't come into play when you need to approach Department heads  and other highly paid employees and tell them "thanks for your service, but you just aren't cutting it". That is what leaders and managers do. You decide when to cut your losses, make the difficult decisions and move on.

Hartford needs to implement some sound business management practices and have people implementing them that actually know and understand what sound business practices are.
The Kupiec debacle is a perfect example. Who was responsible for exit interviews and making sure that all property and keys were accounted for on the day he left? This should have been done before his final paycheck was cut, but we now know it wasn't.

That is a basic management process, turn in your keys, turn in your ID card, return all company property, etc, etc. Even though the official line is that his cell phone was turned in and re-issued, that is untrue. I know for a fact that a City Hall staffer  called him on it Monday morning and woke him up and told him to look out his window, the cops were out front questioning why the car was there.

There has been more than enough information out there to show that City Hall is in a state of chaos , and Segarra continues to accept the betrayals by people that he has placed his trust in. If I rehashed everything here I could be typing for days but let me highlight a few.

Quality of life is not just clean parks and public safety, it also means that we get proper customer service for the things we expect from City hall. One of the biggest complaints I hear is the quality of the response residents get when they call the 911 Dispatch Center. It is clearly time for a change in the leadership there.

First off , Segarra is probably still stinging from the sense of betrayal  from his former Chief of Staff and the breech of trust Segarra placed in him. That same breech of trust exists with the Director of Emergency Telecommunications. He can pretend to be a Hartford resident as is required and essentially perpetrate the fraud every time he walks into Segarra's Office. It is time for the Mayor to stand up and say "I trusted you and you let me down, it is time to move on". That is what managers worth their weight do, it is about protecting the Corporation and your shareholders.

 And for anyone that doesn't get the concept of shareholders, that is everyone of us, City residents that hang in here everyday hoping that eventually we will see our City rise to its full potential once again. Hoping that someone will see City Government as more than just a paycheck and a pension  and realize the obligation they have to us, to actually affect or Quality of Life..

And going back to the 911 Center mismanagement. Why are we paying $120,000 a year for the Shotspotter System. A system that was sold to us as some high tech crime prevention tool. It is currently turned off because the fireworks being lit all over Hartford traumatized HPD with false activations and tied up huge amounts of police resources chasing every bottle rocket lit off on Vine Street.

Managers step up and say it is a waste of precious dollars , take it out. But not in Hartford. Someone probably gets a free shotspotter t-shirt or coffee mug and the annual Vegas Convention, so it must be a great system. This isn't monopoly money. This is hard earned money coming out of the pockets of some of the hardest working people in the state, Hartford residents. Many of them working 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet and to be able to pay their taxes to fund this nonsense.

With all of Segarra's difficulties and missteps, there is no greater or more critical position to be filled right now than that of Chief Operating Officer. There is a huge vacuum in that office right now and every day without a permanent replacement drives us closer to the brink of doom. For Segarra it is time to step up and realize friendships are nice, loyalties are admirable, but you have to be able to confront a situation and say " this isn't your strong suit, thanks for your service but I need to make a change"

Everything that is happening right now in Segarra's Administration can't be discounted. The p-card audits and misuse, the audit detailing poor or nonexistent financial controls in the Finance Department. the lack of adherence to travel policies and reimbursement, these all have a common denominator. The Finance Director and the person he answers to, the Chief Operating Officer.

Clearly no one is paying attention, no one is managing anything other than the press conferences and the ribbon cuttings and the bloom is fading on that rose real quick. Mayor Segarra's office needs some real substance and management, the window dressing is wearing thin.

The proof should be obvious if Segarra is sincere about fixing his administration or if it is just more political posturing that we have become accustomed to. A quick indication will be how long the Chief operating officer position remains in the vacuum state. How long the Ford Explorer SUV continues to head north to Suffield every night driven by his 911 Director also will be telling.

Pedro, it is up to you, are you sincere or just another City hall insider taking us for a ride on fancy words. Time will tell, your choice.

In the meantime, work on those exit strategies, they might come in helpful


Anonymous said...

Tip of the Iceberg
How do you like having a high salaried manager just smoke your money away? I go to the DPW yard quite often for fuel. It seems every l go down there the Assistant director of DPW is pacing back and forth with a cigarette in one hand and the phone in the other. If this how the city's money is being spent then she is doing a good job. With the way the streets and parks look l think better time could be spent looking at these bad situations and planning on their solutions

Unknown said...

This is CT! Why would a Democrat NEED a leadership plan?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you have so many supervisors in the 911 center. I heard you have one who is the Training Coordinator who can't even do the job so how could she train an she is making at least $80,000. One supervisor listens to tapes all day in his office. Talk about waste of money