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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ENOUGH ALREADY, WHY CHIEF HUERTAS NEEDS TO RESIGN

 
I originally had high hopes for Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas when he took over the helm of the Hartford Fire Department. His predecessor was a politician, not a Chief and played the game under a corrupt Mayor. The same issue that pushed Ed Casares out of office also ushered Carlos Huertas in as Chief.

According to several sources, the demise of Casares as Chief occurred the day he was called in to the office of acting COO Saundra Kee- Borges as Casares was getting ready to make Fire Department promotions. Saundra Kee-Borges was trying to secure a promotion for her boyfriend Terry Waller. Apparently the puppetmaster Kee-Borges asked Casares directly "you are going to make Terry a Deputy Chief, right?" Casares apparently gave her a blunt answer, "NO." That did not go over well and Casares announced his retirement shortly there after.

Luckily for Kee-Borges there was someone waiting in the wings willing to sell his soul to the devil to get those all important Chief's bugles for his collar. That person was Carlos Huertas, a veteran of the Hartford Fire Department. Huertas has not been shy about telling people about the deal he had to cut to get the Chief's job. It was a package deal, According to Huertas, he was told he would have to take Kee-Borges boyfriend Terry Waller as his Assistant Chief if he was to get the permanent Chief's position. Huertas claims the message was the same from Kee-Borges and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, the job was his if he took Waller.

Huertas wanted the job so desperately, he agreed to those terms and appointed Waller as  his "acting" Assistant Chief. The rest is history.


The last year of the Hartford Fire Department , under Huertas, has been a disaster. Numerous arrests of firefighters, on duty and off, and unfortunately the first on duty death in 40 years.

The most troubling part though is that a man I thought was honorable has proven himself to be quite the opposite. I personally have been lied to directly by Huertas on a couple occasions and his less than honest ways extend all the way to the Mayor's Office. As an example, I recently spoke to Huerta at an event and he unveiled his plan to me for a board of inquiry into the death of Firefighter Kevin Bell. Huertas surprised me by telling me he had appointed Deputy Chief Dan Nolan to head the inquiry.

 I think he noticed my surprise and he told me that he chose Nolan because he wanted to get to the truth. He told me that him and Nolan had "buried the hatchet" and it was all about getting to the truth of Bell's death. He even went so far as to tell me that they were having lunch that week to go over the inquiry. Nolan is not always known as a "team player" when it comes to the Administration, but if you want to get to the truth, there is no one better. Not surprisingly, the lunch never happened and later that week Huertas essentially shut down the inquiry , he claims on orders from City Hall.

Another Huertas glaring lie apparently occurred today. After the word of the McLoughlin incident surfaced today, apparently City Hall was caught off guard and somewhat embarrassed at the treatment of McLoughlin. Huertas apparently tried to explain his actions by saying that McLoughlin
refused to accept his phone calls as required on a paid suspension so he switched him to an unpaid suspension. Yet City Hall sources have stated that there is in fact an e-mail from McLoughlin to Huertas offering alternative phone numbers and contact information for use during his suspension.

I would think that at the very least, Segarra deserves honest answers from Huertas when questions are asked How can the Mayor have trust and confidence in any department head that doesn't

There is still a lot of information that has yet to come out regarding the Bell fatal fire , which will probably only further the lack of trust in the HFD administration.

This so called leadership or lack there of has only fostered the lack of accountability at HFD and has attributed to the tone of anything goes. This is a perfect example of what happens when you push politics  into promotions and force people who are less than qualified through the ranks for personal or political gain.

It needs to end and a competent Chief  needs to be found. The lives of our firefighters and our residents deserve it. A Chief needs to be identified and appointed immediately who isn't willing to sell his soul to the devil to get the position. Integrity matters and that needs to be the tone set through the entire Hartford Fire Department if these problems are going to be turned around and brought under control.

That change needs to begin at the top of HFD and the Huertas tenure needs to end immediately.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DESPICABLE, TRULY DESPICABLE

Usually I like to get stories out, but a couple weeks ago, I as made aware of a story, and the subject of the story asked not to have the information put out. Normally I go with stories once I am able to confirm them, but in this case I was asked to hold off. Due to the nature of the story, I reluctantly agreed. This will start making sense shortly as I go on.

Apparently, on or about December 10, 2014, Hartford Fire Department Acting Assistant Chief Terry Waller voiced his concerns to Chief Carlos Huertas that he had reason to believe that newly promoted District Chief James McLoughlin may be suicidal. Other sources claim that the accusations may have also initially come form the Hartford Fire Union an "anonymous" sources, no substantiation has been obtained to these claims. According to sources, it is unknown how Waller arrived at that conclusion. There apparently are no other witnesses other than Waller and there was apparently no suicidal behavior or threats by McLoughlin.

It is also important  to note that McLoughlin and Waller both may play a role in the investigation of the October death of Firefighter Kevin Bell and the injury of other HFD members. Waller was, according to sources, the highest ranking Hartford Fire officer at the fatal fire, even though he never took command of the scene. This could play a key role as to who was responsible for critical decision making during the fire and whether those decisions could have played a role in Bell's death Under normal  protocol's and the HFD chain of command, Waller would have been at the top of that chain once her arrived on scene.

That could potentially be to avoid putting responsibility on Waller, but rather shift the responsibility for decision making to Mcloughlin, HFD's most junior Chief, having been recently promoted to the District  Chief position.

Regardless, on the morning of December 10, McLoughlin was called into Fire Headquarters and Waller expressed his concerns.According to sources, Huertas, Waller and Union President Fusco were also in  that meeting No more action was taken and despite Waller's accusations of the suicidal behavior, McLoughlin was allowed to return to his position, commanding approximately 70 firefighters for at least another 10 hours before any action was taken. Apparently no possible concern for the firefighters under McLoughin's command, but there was a need to fill a shift so McLoughlin was sent  back out for the remainder of his shift. You can's make this stuff up.

A the end of the day when his shift was over, McLoughlin was once again called in, and after being allowed to work all day, he was now being told that he was being suspended on paid administrative leave pending a psychiatric  examination by a psychiatrist Saint Francis. Mcloughlin was forced into the exam based upon Waller's accusations.

I guess at that point the City has an obligation to look into the matter for the sake and well being of the City and its employees. No matter what Waller or any one's motivation might be. Right or wrong, once the accusation is made, for liability reasons it has to be dealt with one way or the other.

I am told that McLoughlin, during that time also requested to attend a retreat for Police and Fire Commanders who have had firefighters and police officers under their command die in the line of duty. Chief Huertas and the City of Hartford apparently rejected Mcloughlin's  request to attend. Mcloughlin apparently used his own time and paid his own expenses to attend the retreat.

To add insult to injury, this week McLoughlin didn't receive his regular payroll check, He called the City's payroll department and was told that they had received an e-mail from Chief Huertas changing McLoughlin's pay status from "Paid Administrative Suspension" to an "Unpaid Suspension", essentially meaning that McLoughlin is no longer a paid employee of the City of Hartford and not receiving any pay. This is at the same time that at least five others accused of criminal activity and wrongdoing and currently on paid suspension and  are still being paid by HFD. McLoughlin is not accused of any criminal  behavior nor any verified wrongdoing. Just Terry Waller's alleged fictitious rantings that are probably more about protecting himself and what he didn't do at a fatal fire scene than about anything else.

And just as a point of information Mcloughlin, did submit to the psychiatric  examination at the hospital and was apparently cleared of any potential concerns. Even after the psychiatrist advised Waller of their  findings, Waller still refused to allow McLoughlin to return to work, instead they eliminated his pay without  any due process or hearings. How is this legal?

I am confident SKB as the puppetmaster is pulling the strings behind the scenes to benefit her love interest Acting Assistant Chief and Part Time Psychiatrist Terry Waller. Can a similar exam for Waller be scheduled

There are so many conflicts of interest with this matter that SKB and Waller should be nowhere near this process. As with most things they are involved in, the result will be based on a strategy to benefit them and in the end cost the taxpayers of Hartford big time when settlements come about.

If the truth is, as Huertas himself has told   many people, that he(Chief Huertas) was forced by Segarra and Kee-Borges to take Terry Waller as his Assistantint  order to get the Chiefs job, that sure sounds like extortion and needs to be investigated fully by both the State and the Feds.

In the mean time it is time get Chief McLoughlin, an honorable and reputable man, back to work, Chief Huertas and his shameful leadership is the one  who needs to step aside. Threats of mental illness need to be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly, not used as a tool to remove your detractors

THE SEGARRA INSANITY

It is often said that a generic definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome. Isn't that also the definition of the Segarra Administration. You need to look no further than his puppetmaster, Saundra Kee-Borges to realize why City Hall is a mess, but Segarra allows it to continue.

Now his panel to restructure Hartford Fire has  many wondering how his mind works and where his management style came from.Can you imagine any major corporation who is trying to struggle out of bankruptcy hiring their former CEO who forced them into bankruptcy to now lead them out?

That is essentially what Segarra has done. By inviting back the former Chief's who began the demise of HFD, Segarra is now allowing the decay to continue. A Chief who admitted, under oath, to accepting bribes. A Chief who told firefighters caught up in a drug scandal, resulting in arrests, he knew about addictions, including his own and he had their backs, after they were scooped up in an HPD sting for dealing drugs out of a firehouse on Park St. This is not the leadership HFD needs.

HFD needs a Chief that knows how to run a Fire Department. A Chief that knows right from wrong and is able to enforce it. A Chief that knows how to stand up to political forces that may not have the well being of his Department at heart. A Chief that knows how to say "no" when he needs to. If the Chief can't do that, then he needs to step aside and allow someone to come in that can and will.

Chief  Huertas needs to take a long look in the mirror and ask himself if a potential choice for Assistant Chief is the best possible candidate available. Chief Huertas needs to ask himself if his son was a firefighter, would he feel completely comfortable that he made the best possible choice in the promotion of an Assistant Chief. Would he feel comfortable that he put his son's life in responsible hands ? I know the answer to that because I have already spoken to Chief Huertas , and the answer I received wasn't reassuring. And just so you know, there was another party to the conversation who heard the answers.

I don't think there is a lot of hope for Segarra or the puppetmaster SKB, but that doesn't mean we can't continue to expose what we feel is wrong in our City

KEE-BORGES OUT

 
 
City Hall sources are confirming that Saundra Kee -Borges is out at Hartford City Hall. The conditions are not known or the reason behind her departure , but sources are confiring that SKB is done. It is unclear who the new puppet master pulling Segarra's strings will be.

MAYOR SEGARRA ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE OF CORPORATION COUNSEL SAUNDRA KEE BORGES
Deputy Henri Alexandre to Become Acting Corporation Counsel

--- NEWS AND COMMUNITY STATEMENT---

(December 30, 2014) Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra announced that he has accepted the resignation of Saundra Kee Borges effective Friday, January 30, 2015. Kee Borges started her career in city government in the Office of Corporation Counsel after graduating UConn law. She served as deputy corporation counsel and later as the city manager under Mayor Mike Peters. She left in 2002 to open her own law firm, but returned in 2010 to serve as Corporation Counsel.

“Sandy’s commitment to the City of Hartford spans many years,” said Mayor Segarra, “She has been a valued member of my team and I wish her well in whatever she chooses next.”

“I want to personally thank the Mayor for having confidence in me and for giving me the opportunity to serve the people of Hartford,” added Kee Borges. “I’m pursuing several opportunities but first look forward to spending some much needed time with my family.”

Mayor Segarra is appointing Deputy Corporation Counsel Henri Alexandre to serve as Acting Corporation Counsel. Alexandre is a former legal director at the State Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, and served as an assistant attorney general for over 15 years. By appointing Alexandre who has over 20 years of legal experience within a public agency, Mayor Segarra is confident the office will continue to operate efficiently during this transitional period.

Friday, December 12, 2014

TIME TO ACT MAYORAL

Now that Pedro Segarra  appears to have a very serious challenger for the mayor's Race next year, is it time we start to actually expect him to start acting like a Mayor?

I doubt it, but we'll see. The first challenge can be reshaping the Hartford Fire Department. But in true Segarra fashion, it most likely won't be about action. It won't be about appointing strong leadership and supporting that leader. In true Segarra fashion it will probably be about studying the issue.

Lets form a blue ribbon panel to study what has happened. We could invite a couple of former chiefs back to dissect the problem and offer their opinions. Probably no one will notice that these would be the same Chiefs that created the majority of the problems in the first place with their practices. If you though enough gold on the uniforms you sit around the table, no one will notice.

Ignore the fact that these are the same Chief's that started the downward spiral by inserting people that should have never been hired into the HFD friends and family rewards plan. But as we all know with Segarra, it is not about change, it is about appearances.

Yes, that will look Mayoral, a blue ribbon panel of former Chiefs to study the problem, and when they finish studying in a couple years, everyone will have forgotten there was a problem.

Oh, one last problem. The former Chief's aren't the most credible. Between taking bribes at Springfield strip clubs and threatening Mayors, strong arming employees for loans to get their kids out of jail and don't forget the daily coffee stops funded by the taxpayers p-card. We would need to add some credibility to the panel. Maribel, quick, what we can we do to add credibility. You say order Foley on? Right , the media loves him. Let's go one better though order Chief Rovella on, everyone will believe what he says

So it is done then. Our first Mayoral looking act for the campaign season. Call the press conference, we will roll it out this afternoon at 2:00PM. Let the dog and pony show begin, we have an election to win.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

PRETTY UNTIL THEY IGNITE

 
I tried to get a comment from HFD but apparently they were settling a grudge match between the Mayor and Acting Assistant Chief Waller behind the Fire Tower. Today a tragic fire may may have taken the lives of four adults in a house Fire in Enfield. Preliminary indications are that the fire may have been caused by a Christmas Tree.

Below are fire safety tips for Christmas trees from the National fire Protection Association. Please keep your trees watered daily. if  the tree appears to be excessively dry and needles are dry and brittle, don't be afraid to take the tree down early. it's much more convenient than a fire.

Maybe the Mayor's Communication Staff could do something worthwhile and put similar tops out to Hartford residents in conjunction with HFD's PIO. Happy and Safe Holidays.

Does anyone have any info on the summit meeting that was was held today  or is being held this week at the Hartford Insurance with lawyers and insurers for the Bell case? Please give me a call if you do.

 

 

Christmas tree safety tips



Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer.
Picking the tree
  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Placing the tree
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1" - 2" from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
Lighting the tree
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
After Christmas
  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

SOME GOOD NEWS FOR HFD

According to sources, something positive happened at the Hartford Fire Department earlier today. Apparently, inspectors from the State of  Connecticut Department of Health showed up unannounced for a surprise inspection at Engine 16 on Blue Hills Avenue. The inspectors were apparently there for a check of the first responder  status and emergency preparation of  Engine 16.

Engine 16 is the same apparatus that was detailed in weekend reports regarding deficient equipment and empty air-bottles.  Engine 16 was also  the home apparatus of firefighter Kevin Bell just before he died.

Although no written reports are available at this time,one HFD source said Engine 16 "passed with flying colors"

You would think that the HFD administration would already be doing this on every piece of apparatus in the City, but it is good to know that the State health Department can take the initiative to make sure things are right. Maybe Chief Waller you should be dropping into Fire Stations instead of padding your overtime on fire calls where you aren't needed.

Oh well Terry, it was good while it lasted





Tuesday, December 9, 2014

THE BATTLING HFD LIEUTENANTS, THE POLICE VERSION

The Hartford Police report is out regarding the two Hartford fire lieutenants fighting last weekend. The report seems to clearly show Lt Tyson as the aggressor after striking out at Lt. Cunningham not once but twice and then putting Cunningham in a headlock type choke hold. If zero tolerance truly means zero tolerance, it will be interesting to see how this incident will continue to be swept under the rug. Hartford apparently has a "Zero Tolerance Policy" for violence in the workplace

Sunday, December 7, 2014

MORE ON THE DUELING HFD LIEUTENANTS

HFD Fire Lieutenant Tyson , left, LT Cunningham, Right, in the basement of 16 Chatham St. Hartford
 
 
Let's recap the incident first, here is the official HPD version:

On December 6, 2014 at 11:56am, the Hartford Fire Department was dispatched to 16 Chatham Street for a working fire. Following the fire, at 1:40pm a Hartford Police Officer was dispatched to the Fire House at 25 Blue Hills Ave. on a report of a disturbance between two Hartford Fire Department Lieutenants. 

The incident involves a reported altercation between the two lieutenants at the 16 Chatham Street fire scene. Both the involved Lieutenants and a witness (HFD employee) were interviewed.  Neither of the parties involved wished to press charges. The incident was not in public view.  There were no reported injuries.  The HPD officer documented the incident and his actions. This report will be available through the FOI process. HPD Case# 14-39394.

HFD Chief Carlos Huertas offered the following comment:
“We are a Fire Department as well as a family. The women and men of this department are performing a very technical and dangerous job during the most difficult and stressful of times. Today’s incident only proves that our brave firefighters are human. Rest assure, we will examine this incident and take appropriate action to ensure public safety"
 
I already wrote some of my initial thoughts on the incident immediately after it happened, but the more I thought about it overnight, the more aggravated I was by these so called "professionals" and their behavior. More importantly though was my disappointment and disgust with the explanation given by Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas.
 
According to HPD's Deputy Chief Brian Foley's release:
 
HFD Chief Carlos Huertas offered the following comment:
“We are a Fire Department as well as a family. The women and men of this department are performing a very technical and dangerous job during the most difficult and stressful of times. Today’s incident only proves that our brave firefighters are human. Rest assure, we will examine this incident and take appropriate action to ensure public safety"
 
There doesn't seem to be any upset, it doesn't seem to bother Huertas that two ranking members of his Department were fighting at a Fire scene. That two of his "officers" have just embarrassed all other members of His department who have had more than their share of embarrassing news coverage recently, but I guess it is no big deal to Huertas ( Most likely they will have plenty more as things unfold over the next weeks and possibly months)
 
To seem to explain this as a minor family type squabble is insensitive and offensive to every victim of domestic violence. Chief, when family members punch another family member in the head and then put them in a headlock trying to choke them out, that is called Domestic Violence and the aggressor gets arrested and protective orders are issued whether they are having a "stressful" time or not. They aren't defined as minor firehouse wrestling matches, they are dealt with by the Police and the Courts as the serious incidents they are.
 
It is no wonder why your Department members that have been making the news  who seem to think they are above the law. You are setting the tone for them.  They probably feel that professionally  there will be no repercussions for their bad behavior . Whether it is shooting a friend in the head while intoxicated  or driving drunk at almost 3 times over the limit and causing and then fleeing  from an accident, Don't Worry, Chief  Huertas has your back.

We deserve far better when we dial 911 for help. Not the basement version of human "Rock em  Sock em Robots"
 
Oh and lets not forget who is really running HFD, their Union. The fact that two of the Unions Executive Board members are now on administrative  suspension over their bad acts should not escape the attention of anyone. Lt. Tyson , who from all sources I spoke to about the fighting incident was the aggressor in yesterdays fight , and has been while on the job with similar incidents in the past and Firefighter Vendetti was the alleged drunk driver that caused the Farmington accident and was arrested . They both serve on the HFD Union Executive Board.
 
And lets not forget that the Union President apparently ran interference for the firefighter, Douglas Caldwell who eventually resigned after his drunken scandals while on duty.That was another proud moment for the Department and should have been dealt with immediately if the Department had a strong leader. Instead the Union protected Caldwell and ran interference for him, until their hand was forced when the behavior was exposed here on this blog. You can read that initial posting here. You can read much more about Caldwell by entering "Caldwell" in the search box at the top of the blog.

I know that there are some great firefighters that aren't thrilled  about having their dirty laundry exposed here  and in the media, but they aren't the problem causing this.  The self respecting members of HFD who do their jobs day in and day out deserve our respect and appreciation. But you also have the power to set the tone for your Department. You should be calling for the Chief  to stand up and run your Department, not the puppetmaster at City Hall .

You should be loud and clear about calling for the appointment of an Assistant Chief who is deserving of the position.You should also demand that your Union Executive Board represents you and your professional standards. Insist that they stop supporting  bad firefighters and bad behavior, and if they are part of that bad behavior that is embarrassing the rest of you force a recall or resignations . Set the tone, please . The residents of Hartford are counting on you.

In the mean time Chief Huertas stop condoning this reprehensible behavior. Stop supporting those that are embarrassing you and start supporting those that are willing to work with you and clean things up, they aren't your enemies. There are people that have a long and proud  tradition with HFD and aren't there for just ego's and paychecks. I think you know that SKB or Mayor Segarra don't have your best interests  and success at heart and the sooner you stand up to that the better you and all the good members of the Hartford Fire Department  that are counting on you and your leadership to remain safe and succeed. And maybe an apology to victims of Domestic Violence that you seemed to trivialize might be in order

Let me use the words you use at the end of your e-mails Chief, "Be impeccable with your word, don't take anything personally, Don't make assumptions. Always do your best".  Chief, can you say you are doing that or does it just look good on your e-mails?

 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

MORE EXCUSES FOR BAD BEHAVIOR

What is going on at HFD?

The following statement was received from the Hartford Police department late this afternoon after an incident involving two Hartford Lieutenants at a fire scene at 16 Chatham Street:


On December 6, 2014 at 11:56am, the Hartford Fire Department was dispatched to 16 Chatham Street for a working fire. Following the fire, at 1:40pm a Hartford Police Officer was dispatched to the Fire House at 25 Blue Hills Ave. on a report of a disturbance between two Hartford Fire Department Lieutenants.

 

The incident involves a reported altercation between the two lieutenants at the 16 Chatham Street fire scene. Both the involved Lieutenants and a witness (HFD employee) were interviewed.  Neither of the parties involved wished to press charges. The incident was not in public view.  There were no reported injuries.  The HPD officer documented the incident and his actions. This report will be available through the FOI process. HPD Case# 14-39394.



HFD Chief Carlos Huertas offered the following comment:

“We are a Fire Department as well as a family. The women and men of this department are performing a very technical and dangerous job during the most difficult and stressful of times. Today’s incident only proves that our brave firefighters are human. Rest assure, we will examine this incident and take appropriate action to ensure public safety"

 Chief Huertas, stop making excuses for your Department's childish behavior. Insist that they act like the well paid professionals that the residents of Hartford expect. To the best of my knowledge, the City of Hartford claims to have a zero tolerance policy for work place violence. Enforce it.
 
I am told that this is not the first incident of Lt. Tyson using violence against a coworker. If he struck Lt Cunningham hard enough to knock his helmet off, that is a violent act that you need to deal with. How long can HPD's PIO be counted on to bail you out with these releases.
 
And did Waller put in for his overtime to be your shadow at this incident? Did you really need him there sucking up your valuable overtime hours to tell you what to do?
 
Chief  Huertas, step up and run your department. Don't give the puppetmaster the reason to run you out of 253 High Street.

LIFE SAFETY CAN NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY

"Life Safety can not be taken lightly". More prophetic words have probably never been written in a Hartford Fire department incident report. Those words were written by Hartford Fire Department LT. John Nolan on October 5, 2014 in a "HFD Fire Service Report". A fire service report is the term HFD uses for its regular incident reports. Nolan's Fire Service report was written just 2 days before the Blue Hills fire in which Hartford Firefighter Kevin Bell was found dead. No cause for Bells death has been determined as of this time as the Connecticut Medical Examiner awaits toxicology results of testing on Bell's body. There were apparently no visible signs of trauma, heart disease or burns  or life ending damage uncovered during Bell's autopsy

According to sources, Bell was still wearing his Scott Air pack and air mask when his unresponsive body was found almost 10 minutes after he went missing inside the burning building.

Now more questions arise as to what went wrong and what contributed to Bells death. One issue that may have contributed  to Bells death was the condition of the thermal imager used on Engine 16. In e-mails obtained through an FOI request to HFD, it appears that 16's imager was not working properly at the time of the fire. An e-mail sent to Acting Assistant Chief Terry Waller stated on September 24 that the imager  "is an issue and needs repair " the e-mail does not indicate if Waller took any corrective action or responded to replace or repair the unit. One source familiar with HFD operations told me that normally the imager would have been with the Engines Lieutenant  in which case he would have located Bells body within seconds, not almost 10 minutes. In fairness, it is unknown if that delay would have made a difference in Bell's survival. The autopsy apparently, according to sources, did not show any signs of damage, asphyxiation or smoke in Bell's lungs.

Another issue has revolved around Bells air supply. Did he run out of air? In the fire service report below, LT. Nolan reportedly found 2 empty Scott Air tanks on engine 16, amongst other deficiencies that were life safety issues. If a firefighter were to grab an empty or partially filled air tank, that would affect the time they would safely have inside a structure fire breathing the tank air, rather than a full half hour they might only have minutes or less. There is an alarm on the tank that would sound after the tank pressure drops to about 5 minutes or less so the so the users lack of air would be warned first. Bells tank is currently being tested for any deficiencies by an outside agency.

After receiving Nolan's Fire Service Report via e-mail, Huertas instructed Acting Assistant  Chief Waller to look into "this egregious behavior " immediately. Waller acknowledged Huertas "immediate request" the following day . There is no indication as to what action was taken or what Waller did. According to sources, the extent of Waller's actions  to correct the problems at Engine 16 was to disparage and discredit Nolan for apparently "throwing another Lieutenant under the bus" by reporting the life threatening deficiencies to Chief Huertas.

 There is no record of any retraining or discipline for anyone at engine 16 for the incident.

Nolan's Fire Service speaks for itself but it is interesting to note that Waller , apparently, chose not to take any action against the pump operator or anyone else involved in stating that the apparatus was fit for service when it clearly was not

And if you recognize the name of Lt Gregory Simon that Nolan mentions in his fire service report, this may be why. Simon has been the subject of several postings here on the blog after his stellar representation as a member and an officer of the Hartford Fire Department. Read more here or here about LT Simon, an excellent role model for new firefighters. Or even more here



BOARD OF INQUIRY PROCEDURE E-MAIL


THE HUERTAS FOI E-MAILS

 
 
I have received a few calls and e-mails from readers asking me to post the full e-mail strings.Apparently it is difficult to follow the e-mails without readers being able to follow the full conversation. It will take a little more work to print and then scan the e-mails, to be able to post them,  but here you go.



PLAYING POLITICS WITH FIREFIGHTER'S LIVES

 
State Statutes have been put on the books over the years to keep politics out of Police hiring. For the most part it has worked. The procedures for background checks, polygraphs, and many other safeguards are in place. A Police Chief in Connecticut is protected by statute and can't be fired on a political whim. By law a Police Chief can only be fired with "just cause " and after a hearing if he or she so requests. So even for political favors, giving away Police jobs still require some standards.
 
Not so for Fire Fighter jobs.
 
And upfront, I apologize to those firefighters that think I am painting HFD with too wide a brush. Before getting upset with me, ask yourself if you think there is a problem at HFD and do you think there is leadership in place to address it. Does the recent history embarrass you with what HFD has become?
 
Any political hack can obtain a fire department job regardless of background, drug use or many of the other disqualifiers imposed on Police positions. Other than training after being hired, there are no statutory requirements .Hartford is the perfect example and the recent history of HFD is showing that. Drug use and sales right out of Fire Houses, gun crimes, DUI's,severe  alcohol abuse, hit and runs by Firefighters,larcenies and the list goes on and on.
 
This is sad because of the previous proud tradition of the men and women of the Hartford Fire Department. When a call was made to the HFD , you knew you were going to get a Class 1 Fire Department responding. There are still many good firefighters in Hartford, but the bad few are overshadowing the many good ones. This is sadly, from all appearances, being condoned by the administration.
 
Every firefighter, new and old , deserves to know that the firefighter along side them in a fire is the best qualified candidate that applied for the job. That that firefighter earned their job by being the best trained and most qualified HFD could find. It shouldn't instill any confidence in that firefighter , or their families, to know that the person along side them was hired because they knew how to put up lawn signs for a politicians campaign  or is sleeping with a politician willing to promote them
 
Chief Huertas needs to grow a backbone. If Terry Waller is qualified to be Assistant Chief, then appoint him and stand by the decision. If Waller is not competent but is being forced on Huertas by Waller's squeeze (SKB) and Segarra, then stand up and say no, actually say "HELL NO" .The lives of Hartford's firefighters are too valuable to be compromised by by political favors.
 
No job is worth ones integrity, we know Saundra Kee- Borges , Waller and Segarra have no integrity, but don't let them steal yours Chief. Don't let that be your legacy .
 
Even your predecessor knew when to walk away when SKB made the demands on him in her office at City Hall "You are going to make Terry a Chief, right?" Chief Casares response was reportedly "NO"  You must remember, that's the day Chief Casares announced his retirement and the position opened for you.
 
 When the Chief starts succumbing to political pressure and knowingly is promoting and hiring unqualified individuals to get the dream job he always wanted, the decay and rot of a once proud organization has begun.
 
 It is also sad when a Mayor allows his college  study buddy to operate as the puppet master  using City Hall for her own personal gain. I'd love to know what she is holding  over Segarra's head to survive this long. It must be a doozy for Segarra to overlook all the scandals she has dragged him into, seemingly unscathed.
 THE PUPPETMASTER, SKB
 
In the meantime we should be happy the puppet master can't get her hooks into HPD. She will have to settle for her and Terry's kids at DPW, 3 are there already

Friday, December 5, 2014

YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH



The worst day in any Fire Chief or Police Chief's life has to be the day they lose one of their own. To compound the issue by not doing everything possible to get to the truth and facts of the death and make every attempt to change so it never happens again is absolutely wrong.  I think every Chief has that responsibility and moral obligation as part of their leadership.

I recently had a conversation with Hartford's Fire Chief Carlos Huertas after the death of Firefighter Kevin Bell. Huertas told me that he had formed a Board of Inquiry to look into the death. He had apparently appointed several members to serve on the panel. At the time I commended his efforts and he said all he was interested in was getting to the truth.

Then he stunned me by telling me that he had appointed Deputy Chief Dan Nolan to head the inquiry. I don't mean that in a negative way. Chief Nolan  is probably one of the most, if not the most qualified Fire professional in the State of Connecticut and also in the Military through his military service to our Country.

Dan is not the right person to choose if you want to control the outcome of the message. One thing I have learned about Dan is that he doesn't normally think about the negative repercussions. The truth is the truth with him. You may not like what he is going to say, but he is going to say it to your face, no games, no cover-ups. I have a similar problem so I guess it might be an Irish trait.

I told Huertas I was surprised by his choice since there had been some bad blood between him and Nolan recently. He assured me that they had agreed to "bury the hatchet" and the Board  of Inquiry was the start of a new working relationship between the two. "In fact, I am taking Dan out to lunch next week" Huertas told me to , I guess, convince me that him and Nolan could work together.

An October 9, 2014 email from Nolan to Huertas seems to start the reconciliation process. Nolan wrote to Huertas:
. "I know we have had our differences lately but we need to put them behind us in order to provide the safest environment for the members of this department, please advise me in what direction you would like my involvement to this matter."

He said his instructions to Nolan were clear. Get to the truth wherever it goes, period.  I told Huertas if that was in fact his goal, he had chosen the right guy.Numerous e-mails provided subsequent to an FOI request I made to the City seems to prove otherwise

Apparently that wasn't Huertas's intention though. The lunch never happened, communications between Nolan and Huertas broke down and Nolan was removed by Huertas as the Chairman of the Board of Inquiry. According to several sources, the Board of Inquiry has essentially been shut down. Individuals at City hall were not happy with the direction the investigation was taking and Nolan's attempts to get at the truth.

Deputy Chief Nolan was advised of his removal in an e-mail on November 9, 2014 from Huertas:

Deputy Chief Nolan,
Effective immediately You are no longer the Chair of the Board of Inquiry.
You are still a member of the Board of Inquiry per Department Directive 2.42
but I have reassigned that responsibility to Fire Marshal Roger Martin.


One of those City Hall malcontents forcing Nolan's removal  may have been Corporation Counsel Saundra Kee-Borges. Kee Borges has a vested interest in the outcome of the investigation as she is by many accounts romantically involved with the highest ranking HFD member at the scene of Bell's death, Acting Assistant Fire Chief Terry Waller . Waller is reported to have not followed HFD policy by neglecting to take command of the scene upon his arrival at the Fire as is normal policy. Did Waller's actions cause any behavior that led to Bell's death or the injuries of the other firefighters? We will probably never know without a thorough and legitimate inquiry.

In the e-mail below from Deputy Chief Nolan to Chief Huertas, Nolan apparently is asking to clarify conflicting messages he claims to be getting from Huertas. Nolan is questioning the function of the Board of Inquiry  after Huertas apparently told him to "stand down" due to orders received by the Corporation Counsel. Why would the Corporation Counsel have any involvement in the Inquiry?
Was it to avoid possible embarrassment to the City or was she protecting her love interest?

A more troubling e-mail describes the lengths Kee-Borges would allegedly go to to advance Waller's career. In the e-mail from Nolan to Huertas a disturbing picture is painted of Kee-Borges using her authority to play politics with the Hartford Fire Department. Nolan wrote to Huertas the following:
Chief Huertas, 

I can’t believe you would tell me to address my concerns with Terry Waller. Have you forgotten the conversation I had with you and Leigh Shapiro in your office a few months back, where you informed me that Mayor Segarra and  Saundra Borges were forcing you to make Terry Waller the Assistant Chief or they would not make you the Chief of this department? You then went on to tell me several stories of how incompetent Terry Waller has been in his acting position of Assistant Chief. Now after sharing with me his lack of intellect and abilities you expect me to address my concerns regarding the life safety of our department members with him? How do you rationalize your hypocrisy of addressing the safety of our firefighters directly to me by pawning it off to someone you deemed inept as a leader?  

I will not be contacting him regarding this grave concern for you have made it clear to me that this is far beyond his capabilities. I have tried to reach out the olive branch to you for the betterment and the safety of our firefighters, you have in return have chosen to become my adversary and  refuse to interact with me directly as a competent leader would have.  

I will be contacting OSHA directly on this matter, we will see how you make out pawning Terry Waller on them 

Sincerely, 

D/C Dan Nolan
 
 
 
Much more to come on this I am sure, keep reading, this is only the beginning
 
 


NO POLICE HIRING, BUT MARIBEL GETS AN ASSISTANT


Another thing coming out of Hartford City Hall today should have many people shaking their heads in disbelief.

Apparently Mayor Segarra and his Director of Communications Maribel Laluz have found the hiring of an assistant for Laluz more important than policing Hartford's streets. The Police Academy class that was promised by Segarra to begin in January has apparently been pushed off to at least March from what sources are telling me.

La Luz's new assistant, former Hartford Courant reporter Hilda Munoz starts Monday. Her last day at the Courant was today

Priorities I guess

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

GROSS MISCONDUCT

That is how the Office of the Connecticut  Secretary of the State Denise Merrill referred to the debacle created election day by Hartford's Democratic Registrar of Voters  Olga Vazquez .I think there is plenty of gross misconduct to go around, starting with Mayor Segarra, Council President Shawn Wooden and possibly even Merrill herself. Was it a newsflash to any of them that Vazquez was a disaster waiting to happen?

All any of them had to do was open their eyes to the numerous Superior Court decisions or SEEC rulings to realize that Vazquez has very little regard, if any, for obeying election law or State Statutes. Didn't the fact that Vazquez has routinely over spent her approved budget by millions of dollars while regularly turning out some of the lowest voter participation in the State.

It was just a matter of time.

What is interesting is how Segarra and Wooden were able to quickly pull together a dog and pony show on the steps of City Hall to voice their apparent indignation. They never seemed to mention one interesting fact though. The only charter revision question approved by the voters over a year ago was authorizing the restructuring of the Registrars Office  to a professional  operation of one Registrar.

This move would  hopefully remove the political patronage of the three Registrars and establish one professional election administrator. City Hall has sat on this restructuring and it is no further along now than it was the day it was put on the ballot over a year ago

It would be interesting to hear Segarra and Wooden explain why they have ignored the will and the mandate of the people of Hartford who went to the polls last November to vote for Charter reform.

It is easy for Segarra and Wooden to jump on the bandstand and thump their chests what a travesty this was and how terrible it is that voters were disenfranchised, but look at the facts they disenfranchised those same voters when they refused to follow their will  and clean up the disaster that is and has been the Registrars Office under Vazquez

 Last Tuesday should have surprised no one, especially Segarra and Wooden who have had to deal directly with Vazquez's .Misconduct for several years now.

Here is one more example of Vazquez's blatant disregard for election law, just enter her name in the search bar above and you will  find many more examples that have been posted here

MERRILL'S COMPLAINT



From: Bromley, Ted
Sent: Tuesday, November 4, 2014 7:04 PM
To: Ahern, Kevin
Cc: Reeves, Peggy; Merrill, Denise; Wegele, Shannon; Spallone, James; Harris, Av; Button, Lewis
Subject: SOTS Complaint Re: Hartford Registrars of Voters

 

 

Dear Attorney Ahern:

 

I am writing to inform you of our intention to file a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission regarding the gross misconduct of the Hartford Registrars of Voters during the election of November 4, 2014.  Based upon recent facts that have emerged regarding the conduct of the Hartford Registrars of Voters during Election Day and based upon the testimony presented in the matter of Dannel P. Malloy v. Olga Iris Vasquez, Sheila N. Hall, Urania Petit and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Superior Court, Hartford (November 4, 2014) it is our understanding that the following election law violations have occurred:  (1) failure to properly prepare the final registry list pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 9-38; (2) failure to properly prepare and open the polls in violation of Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 9-174; (3) failure to properly mark the official registry list regarding absentee ballots in violation of Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 9-140c; (4) failure to properly implement and follow the voting process in violation of Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 9-261; failure to properly transmit the official registry list to the moderator of each polling location in violation of Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 9-259; and neglect of their official duties pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 9-355.

 

We will certainly provide your agency with additional material and details as they become available.

 

Sincerely,

Ted Bromley

Staff Attorney

 

 

THANK YOU AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A SAD NOTE

Alyssa Peterson, a tireless advocate for the people and the neighborhoods of Hartford has announced the passing of her father, James Peterson, after a long illness. The details are below. Condolences  to Alyssa and her entire family. Alyssa was faithfully committed to her fathers care over the last 10 years. Your compassion for your father is admirable.

James H. Peterson, 83, of Simsbury, passed away Saturday, October 18, 2014, after bravely fighting illness for many years. Born in New Haven to Greek immigrants Peter E. and Sophie (Yaknisi) Peterson, James or "Jim" moved with his family to Hartford during World War II and later settled in West Hartford. Jim attended Hall High School and UConn College of Pharmacy where he graduated in 1954. Jim spent two years in Germany on a tour of duty with the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He returned to Connecticut to work in the pharmacies of Maxwell Drugs around the Hartford area, and he managed the Torrington store for 17 happy years. He continued as a neighborhood pharmacist at the Doyle's in Newington before completing his career at UConn in Farmington in the Correctional Pharmacy. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Jim is survived by his wife of 55 years, Helen Karras Peterson, and his devoted children: Alyssa S. Peterson of Hartford; Demosthenes James "DJ" Peterson and his partner Daniel A. Nadeau of Los Angeles, CA; and P. Christopher Peterson and his wife Christine Bilotti-Peterson also of Simsbury, plus their four beautiful children, Alexa, Athan, James, and Nico. Jim also is survived by his very dear sister, Bette O'Brien of Farmington and his brother, Charles "Chick" Peterson of Charlotte, NC. The Peterson Family would like to thank the many talented health professionals of UConn Health Center and Avon Health Center for their years of extraordinary care. Jim's gentle style, hard work, compassion, and wry humor made him loved by all. His family will receive friends Thursday, October 23, 2014 from 5-8 pm at the Carmon Funeral Home & Family Center, 301 Country Club Road, Avon. A brief Trisagion prayer service will be held at 5 pm. The Funeral will be Friday, October 24, 2014 at 11 am at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 433 Fairfield Avenue, Hartford. Burial will follow in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford. Contributions to honor Jim may be directed to a
. For directions or condolences please visit www.carmonfuneralhome.com.

Published in The Hartford Courant on Oct. 22, 2014 -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

 
The Foley Odalisque-definition "A  female sex slave in an Ottoman Sultan's Harem"
 
 
A lot has been made about Republican Candidate for Governor  Tom Foley and his $5 million dollar yacht. I was thinking you can't fault the guy for being successful. Besides, imagine the revenue the State of Connecticut must see from the taxes on Foley's yacht, not to mention the revenue from his jet.

Then I began doing the research. Foley's yacht is not registered or taxed in Connecticut. Neither is his jet. The yacht apparently is registered in Fort Lauderdale, but even more interesting is the name Foley chose to "name " his yacht.

The "ODALISQUE", according to Charterworld.com the is based in Palm Beach , Florida. You are probably asking yourself now what is an Odalisque? That is the troubling part to me. According to Wikipedia, Odalisque is defined as "a female slave or concubine in the household or harem of the Ottoman Sultan." . Yes, you read that right, Tom Foley's yacht is apparently named after a female slave. Now I understand politics  but a Governor who names his yacht after a female sex slave? I don't get it

I understand the nature of the beast, politics is a nasty business, made even nastier by close races. Sadly though, I don't think I know anymore about Tom Foley now than I did at the beginning of the Governor's race Despite the millions  spent, on both sides,  the only thing I definitely  know about Foley is that he has a strong dislike for his opponent, and has no problem naming his yacht after female slavery.

I do have to be honest and say I do like Foley's opponent. Dan Malloy. Governor Malloy is someone I would call a friend. Not close "hanging out on the weekend" friends but someone I do respect and talk to occasionally.

I don't flock to Malloy because of the potential of knowing the Governor, but I see him as a genuine human being. I first met Governor Malloy shortly after he began his first term in of all places  a bar. Imagine that, 2 Irish guys in a bar. Little things impress me and I guess, and the first thing I noticed was that Malloy would stand in line like everyone else to get a beer and took out his own credit card to pay for them. We eventually got on the subject of our Irish Heritage and somehow that got to the topic of our Irish Grandmothers.

Everyone tries to make Irish Sodabread  around St Patrick's Day,  but most people don't get it right. I told the Governor my grandmother used to bake it for me all the time, and hers was my favorite. He asked if I made it with buttermilk and raisins and caraway seeds. I told him that was the only authentic way , and baking it in the cast iron frying pan. Governor Malloy asked me to bring him some at the Capitol next time I baked it.

A few weeks later as St. Patricks Day approached I baked several loaves of Irish Sodabread. I called the Governor's Office to see if he could really accept food. His receptionist answered the phone and I was surprised that the voice on the other end was a good friend of mine, Shirley Surgeon. Shirley is a Hartford resident who also loves Hartford and works tirelessly to make our City a better place.

I explained the sodabread story to her and I asked her if the Troopers assigned to the Governor  allowed the food in. She asked me to hold on the phone for a second. Shortly she came back on the line and told me "The Governor says he will be here until five, he is expecting you". I had never been in the Governor's Office and I kept thinking how proud my Grandmother would be that I was delivering Sodabread made with her recipe to the Governor of our State. Like I said before, I guess little things impressed me.

I remembered to  being a toddler, maybe 4 or 5 years old, and my grandmother dragging me up onto a reviewing stand at a downtown parade to introduce me to then Governor Dempsey. It probably would have been a much different  outcome today with Troopers tackling my grandmother. Different times now I guess

I guess the sodabread was a hit. No troopers ever came looking for me for the recipe.

In the end, I don't think any election comes down to how nasty you can be or how much money you can spend to get elected. I think the more important question is di you leave the place better than when you arrived.

It was a terrible time in our State, but I am not sure anyone else other than Governor Malloy, with Lt Governor Wyman by his side, would have handled the Newtown shooting with the same level of dignity and leadership

Malloy and Wyman returned to his Office at the Capitol one morning after attending a funeral for one of the young victims. I happened to be in the Governor's Office and noticed Malloy's often cheerful selection of green neckties had been replaced by a black neck tie. In part defining the sense of mourning that all of us felt at that time. I could tell that the situation was taking a visible toll on the Governor, I don't think any human wouldn't feel it.

No one runs for office expecting theses situation. And Governor Malloy has had his share of trying times, but I doubt, actually No I know, none could take a bigger toll than a situation like Newtown yet Governor Malloy was there from the start right up until the end.

Malloy could have left the task of notifying parents their children wouldn't be coming home to them to State Police, clergy or others, yet he took on the task because that is what leaders do. They don't get elected to do it but when we need that leadership whether in a Hurricane, severe snowstorms  or unthinkable carnage, Governor Malloy has been there.

Unfortunately politics has become such a big business. It would be nice to have a few minutes to talk to our candidates and get to know them, talk about their Irish grandmothers or whatever nationality they are, get a feel for them. I wish that could happen but it's just not the reality.

Dan Malloy hasn't governed by looking to a political future. After years of indecision by others, Malloy made the tough decisions from the start regardless of the re-election consequences. Any one knows  elections are controlled by Unions, but when you are facing multi billion dollar deficits you do what the people elected you to do and make the necessary decisions.

The gunbill may have not been popular but we need to get guns off our streets. Just yesterday, two Hartford Police Officers took an assault weapon known as a Tec-9 off a residential street. The 32 round 9mm clip serves no purpose other that to kill and mame. Luckily the two suspects only had marijuana in their possession, if they were high on PCP or heroin, it could have been a much different outcome
HPD Evidence photo

I won't continue, I am sure half or you already have your minds made up about what direction you think our State needs to go. I am a firm believer that Dan Malloy has the integrity and leadership to keep the great State of Connecticut moving and I would ask you consider giving him the opportunity to continue that..

Our State didn't get where it is overnight and we aren't going to get out of overnight by hoping for a different outcome with baseless promises

Thanks for indulging my thoughts, and yes I know Foley is Irish also . I'm not sure they serve sodabread on the yacht.

NORTH DISTRICT CSO'S MAKING A DIFFERENCE

TEC-9 RECOVERED BY HPD OFFICERS YESTERDAY
 
Up until recently, North District Community Service Officers had been restricted to a Monday through Friday daytime schedule. Fortunately that has changed and two CSO's scheduled to work last night started their shift by recovering the machine gun pictured  above. The Tec-9 with the extended clip was recovered from two suspects who dumped it on Nelson Street.
 
 Officer's Pepler and Rinaldi observed the vehicle operating at a high rate of speed in the area of Garden and Westland Street. As they attempted to stop the vehicle the front passenger exited the SUV with a laptop bag. Officer Pepler recovered the bag containing the Tec-9 and Officer Rinaldi blocked the fleeing vehicle and apprehended the operator and the passenger.
 
Angel Gonzalez , 27 , of 133 Westland Street and Jerry McKeithan , 33, of 2604 Main Street were both taken into custody and charged with Possession of an assault weapon, Possession of a high capacity magazine, criminal possession of a firearm, theft of a firearm, weapons in a motor vehicle, and carrying a pistol without a permit
 
The weapon recovered is a Intratec Model AB-10 with a 30 round clip. In addition, 36 rounds of 9mm ammunition , $481.00 in cash and a small amount of marijuana was recovered in the vehicle. The weapon had been reported stolen from a Garden Street address in 2003.
 
A great job by Officer's Pepler and Rinaldi and all other assisting officer's getting a very dangerous weapon off Hartford's streets

Friday, October 10, 2014

I ADMIT, I AM BAFFLED

I guess I can't get over my state of confusion.

I was in Glastonbury Center this morning and saw a community that is growing and bustling.

The new Five Guys Restaurant was packed. As I drove further South I noticed a lot of new Construction ( usually a good sign of Economic Development). Just about every store and restaurant was busy. Even the Hardware store looked busy. I didn't see any big signs announcing "Store for Rent" like I do on Pratt Street or Park Street , Albany Avenue or throughout Downtown Hartford.

But as I hard as I looked , I couldn't find a baseball stadium. I tried and tried, but no stadium. I had to keep asking myself how Glastonbury can do it without a baseball stadium. I kept having to ask myself what was Glastonbury's "spark"

After all , we are being told by Segarra and his Economic Guru Deller that the baseball stadium is going to be the "spark" that sets us free from the burdens of poverty, crime and poor planning and poor government. Just believe in them and their plan.

I really wanted to stop and tell some of these business owners in Glastonbury they were crazy investing because all of their efforts would be futile. They have no baseball stadium. They have no "spark"

Maybe they might have some common sense leadership and people that understand that good government and common sense "spark " development, not baseball stadiums.

CAN PEDRO DO ANYTHING RIGHT? ANOTHER BAD AUDIT

I guess some people just aren't cut out to manage anything. It becomes clearer everyday that Pedro Segarra is one of them.

The Hallmark of Segarra's administration has been his high turnover and lack of stability in the leadership of his Department Heads. Police, Fire, DPW MHIS have all seen the revolving door of "Acting Department Heads" and the list goes on.

Who in their right mind would move into the City to become a Department Head under Segarra and inherit the messes both he and SKB have created?

This has resulted in no tone being set for the Administration and resulted in the City being a free for all. There has been very little discipline resulting from many serious chronic problems including drug and alcohol use by employees, serious policy violations and abuses, including credit card misuse.

And now another bad audit of DPW operations. Including questions about thousands of gallons of gasoline unaccounted for and the lack of electronic security safeguards over the system.
 
I guess nothing will change until some real leadership arrives at City Hall, or until Segarra and his flunkies resign.

THE DPW AUDIT


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

I love using this picture, it is about as phony as the leadership of this City
 
 
It might be interesting to ask how Mayor Segarra and his staff think they can manage a baseball operation when nothing else seems to function properly. The report below is just one more example of a City spiraling out of control with no management or leadership.
 
Wouldn't it make more sense using City funds to shore up City Departments that are falling apart due to a lack of funding before throwing money at a baseball stadium?
 
Read the report below, it pretty much speaks for itself. After reading it, ask yourself "is it any wonder we can't attract reasonable economic development with this kind of "leadership"?

HPD DEPUTY CHIEF SUSPENDED OVER RACIST AND SEXUAL COMMENTS

The Internal Affairs Investigation is complete and now comes the discipline. The investigation ordered by Hartford Police Chief James Rovella. It began after complaints by HPD officers related to complaints against Deputy Chief Robert Ford that the officers felt were racist in origin. The investigation also developed information related to sexually inflammatory  comments that Ford admitted to making.

Once the investigation was completed, it confirmed the behavior that the officers alleged. The entire report can be read below. The report upheld that Fords behavior was a violation of the Departments Code of Conduct. Under the code, the punishment could be nothing , up to a maximum five day suspension. Apparently due to the severity of the actions, Ford was given the maximum punishment of a five day suspension.

It is somewhat uncommon for a member of the command staff to receive a suspension . Ford's disciplinary paperwork and his admission to the behavior are below.

These documents were obtained pursuant to an FOI request made to HPD

UPDATE:  Chief Rovella's Letter of Discipline was left out of the original scan, here it is below



THE FORD INTERNAL AFFAIRS REPORT

DEPUTY CHIEF FORD DISCIPLINE REPORTS

PLEASE....OUT OF RESPECT

Normally I encourage your comments and in most cases welcome them.

Out of respect for the tragic death of Firefighter Kevin Bell and his family as well as the other firefighters injured last night, I would ask that you refrain from comments regarding HFD or  its "leaders".

If you sent a comment this morning and are wondering why they aren't being posted, I am holding them back. Let's get through the grieving process and show our respect for our first responders. Including our firefighters , police officers and EMT's who worked so valiantly as a team yesterday to save a life. To the EMT's who worked over an hour and a half trying to revive Firefighter Bell, to HPD who blocked intersections along the ambulance route to Saint Francis to facilitate a quick response to the trauma center and foremost to Firefighters who were in a building that most of us would have run from.

Yes, there are problems  but now is not the time to focus on them. Let the investigation proceed and see what the results are. If changes need to be made , so be it, but in the meantime , respect the brave first responders that our on our streets for us day in and day out.

I will save any information I receive and post it at the appropriate time in the future.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

WHERE ARE THE REPORTS?

With the Bond Rating dropping, tax collections unaccounted for now for several months , how can the City really know what its financial position is?

 And where is the Council on any of these issues? By Charter, the quarterly financial reports should have been submitted to the Council at their first meeting in September. One City Hall source says the reports aren't even done yet and definitely have not been submitted as the Charter requires. This should raise a red flag for the Council and they should be demanding these reports immediately. But in true Council fashion... nothing.

We need a government that functions and is accountable. Otherwise we might as well throw the City Charter out and continue in the direction we are going

IS A BASEBALL STADIUM REALLY THE SPARK THAT HARTFORD NEEDS?

As I watch more of the "process" for this baseball stadium, I keep asking myself if this is really the spark that is going to get Hartford moving ahead?

As much as I would hope that it could be, I think it has only gone to reinforce the image that Hartford is a City of fools, run by fools. Nothing about this project has gone smooth  or been presented well. The busway was rolled out smoother than this single, much simpler project . Hartford's Economic Development people were born too late, they probably would have had great futures launching the Edsel.

I think this project was doomed from the start due to the secrecy and lack of information supplied to the populace. The second launch after the original outcry wasn't much better, still no facts, very little financial detail. Just more of the "trust me" from a Mayor whose trustworthy ratings aren't riding too high right about now.

I just keep wondering what will really spark  economic development in Hartford. I don't believe it is stealing a baseball team from one of our neighboring suburb. I really do think that a properly run City Government would draw more attention from developers and business people than any baseball stadium.Wouldn't it be great to hear business leaders saying "we want to be in Hartford, it is so well managed , and it is the place for us to be"

Wouldn't it be nice to hear a developer announce that they are coming to Hartford because they believe in the potential and think Hartford is moving in the right direction. They see the fiscal responsibility at City Hall and want to be part of the growth. Not because a broke City is willing to throw $65million dollars at the feet of greedy developers to buy their love for the City ( I know the $65 million figure has been changed, but can anyone supply real  numbers for the project)

I look at a smaller town like Middletown, that is vibrant and seems to have no problem with Economic Development. Their Main Street is busy and I don't think we hear too much of the bickering and nonsense coming out of Hartford coming from Middletown.

These things make a difference. What developer wants to take a risk on a City like Hartford where more energy is put into corrupt activity like scheming to hand pick an Assistant Fire Chief, who just happens to be sleeping with a City Official. And a Mayor that is willing to put his New Year's Eve Dinner and his caviar on his City Credit Card probably won't impress a hardworking developer that understands the meaning of hard work and proper management to get ahead.

I think if Hartford got its act together and began using basic management skills, that would impress more for the potential of actual Economic Development than gambling on a baseball stadium whose future and potential is sketchy at best. If you really want to gamble , head to Ledyard , not Hartford, our track record isn't the best.