It explains much of the work that started for the Segarra Administration over eighteen months ago. Segarra didn't have much to hang his hat on and I think he knew he needed something substantial to hang his hat on. Hell, the last major economic development project for the City of Hartford was the Walmart Plaza under Mayor Mike. After almost 6 years in Office, Segarra's lackluster performance wasn't going to cut it and his successes were few and far between. The scandals were beginning to outnumber anything positive coming out of his media office.
Apparently somewhere along the line, someone cooked up the idea of stealing a minor league baseball franchise from New Britain. What's the saying, "the best laid plans of mice and men". I guess the mice won out on this one, and it looks like that is where the brain power planning it came from. The planning was poor and the result showed it. Many residents didn't buy into the Rockcats plan. There was strong opposition that has made what should have been the Segarra legacy and a key to his re-election an anchor that threatens to dislodge his election hopes.
The result of the plan appears to be a huge mistrust of Segarra felt by many as well as serious questions related to his leadership, vision and planning skills. The legality of many of the meetings called to approve the project have been challenged in court and are being forced to be rescheduled in accordance with the law. Those meetings are now being held with different outcomes and explanations as to the scope of the project. As an example the retail is apparently out with the exception of the Rock Cats apparel store and a Café has reportedly been replaced by foodcarts
All things work out for the best.
But for anyone watching this election, it should be clear that every vote matters and Pedro Segarra is more than willing to buy every vote he can at the taxpayers expense.
There is a new word in the vocabulary of City of Hartford workers. It is "Mayor's Day". No, not a day to honor any great work by the Mayor, but rather their latest series of floating holidays that have materialized in time for the next election. Just in time for Segarra's re-election announcement, all City employees were given at least two "Mayor's Days". Most employees apparently used their "Mayor's Day's" to take off the Friday's after Christmas and New years as a paid day off for a long Holiday Weekend . Rather than let City Employees use a vacation day or a day off that they already have banked, Segarra has now granted an additional 2 day off benefit to certain City Employees. (Actually 3 days since he also sent them all home early on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve)
I doubt it will end there though, can the Police and Firefighters and probably dispatchers also be far behind in demanding their equal benefits from the City? I would imagine they would prevail since what is good for one is good for all. Maybe instead of Mayor's Days we should be calling them their Musketeers' benefit. And what about the Board of Ed? They were already on vacation for the holiday but many of them vote , shouldn't we allow Segarra to firm up their votes also with a couple thousand "Mayor's Days"? He'd be a shoe in at that point.
Where does the Mayor draw the authority to grant such unnegotiated benefits? What's the final cost and how does a City that is broke justify throwing money around like this. Especially since there are very few City employees complaining about their benefits packages. And lets be realistic, the Mayors office is won by a few thousand votes. If you start off by gaining a couple thousand votes on your side by "gifting" a few hundred dollars in "Mayor's Day" gift card coupons, that base comes in handy.
I got an interesting call from a City Hall insider this morning. (Maribel, don't bothering scouring the phone records to identify the source, it wasn't a City phone) The source said that as of this morning, the Police Academy class that has been stalled for months is now back on the front burner again and being rushed in for hopefully sometime in February. The reason being that Segarra and his staff have suddenly realized the timeline necessary to get a Police Class graduating in time for election season photo opportunities. And what politician doesn't realize the benefit of claiming they are putting more cops on the streets, whether it is true or not
We should probably plan on a lot more of this happening as Segarra tries to use the taxpayers who don't appear too supportive of his reelection to fund his campaign anyway. The crowd didn't look too large yesterday for his announcement at City Hall. I would have expected much more from an incumbent Mayor.