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