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Saturday, February 28, 2015


The Hartford City Council is preparing to head down a dangerous and costly path for the the people they were elected to protect and represent. Over the last several weeks, the Council has explored and started moving toward removing Hartford's 3 Registrars of Voters based on charges of incompetence.. These charges resulted from the handling of the November election where polling places were unprepared to allow voters to cast their ballots when the polls opened at 6 :00am.

I think there are many charges of incompetence to go around, including against Mayor Segarra, and every member of the Hartford City Council, including Council President Shawn Wooden who appears to have been one of the most vocal and indignant critics of the Registrars, especially  when the red light of a TV camera turns on in front of him.

I think some of the blame can also be spread out to Connecticut's Secretary of State Denise Merrill who has also not become a vocal critic of Hartford's Registrars in an attempt to scrap the entire system.

If Segarra and Wooden were doing their jobs, can they honestly say they were blindsided by the actions of the Registrars leading up to and on election Day?  Had they never heard about the fights in the Registrars Office, the cops being called to mediate the battles? The staplers and office supplies being thrown between offices? Are they really that out of touch with what goes on in their own, or should I say our building?

I don't understand the rush to correct this problem immediately with what promises to be a very costly and long protracted court battle at any attempt by the City of Hartford to get rid of the Registrars There still is no clear cut determination whether Segarra and Wooden have the authority to try to get rid of rightfully elected officials.

The Council has apparently reached out to their hand picked attorney that they decided to hire when they lost Confidence in the Choice made by Segarra authorized under the City's Charter, Corporation Council Saundra Kee-Borges. Apparently the Council lost faith in Kee-Borges efforts as an attorney representing them and saw the need for their own representation.

They chose the author of Hartford's revised 2002 City Charter, which switched to a strong Mayor form of government, Allan Taylor. Taylor was  Chair of the Charter Revision Commission and considered by most to be the key author of many of the changes.

 That brings me to my next issue. I am not a lawyer , but I think I get the concept of  "conflict of interest".  The Council has reached out to Taylor for an opinion on whether the Council has the authority to bring charges and remove the Registrars.  I am not sure how someone who was instrumental in authoring a document can now draw an unbiased opinion, that has any validity, as to the propriety of that same document. Could we ask a judge to determine the legality of an opinion they issued from the bench as to whether the decision was proper. Of course they would say yes. Do we think Taylor would issue an opinion that his thoughts on the Charter revisions were improper or contrary to law? Of course not...

Below is an opinion from  Attorney Thomas Murphy, a former Federal Prosecutor, who has been hired by Working Families Party Registar Urania Petit to represent her in any removal hearings.The people of Hartford also are bound to pay both sides of this Court Battle bill. The City has hired attorneys to act as "prosecutors" of their side of the case and the Registrars have hired attorneys to defend them in their  cases and the taxpayers are also legally bound to pay that part of the bill. That will most likely include the original prosecution of the charges as well as any prolonged court battles and appeals, as well as any damages that could potentially be awarded down the road.

 If this restructuring of the Registrar's Office system was so critical and urgent for the people of Hartford, why was nothing done to implement change after the voters of Hartford authorized it over a year and a half ago. The smoothest way to accomplish change would have been to begin talks with the Legislature to change State Law and implement the changes legally, without all the additional expense and Court action.

Now that should bring some charges of incompetence, that our elected officials chose to ignore the will of those same voters that they now seem to be rushing to protect at any cost.

If the Mayor and Council could get their act together, the Legislative fix could possibly be complete by the next election date for Registrars which could mean the issue would be a "non-issue " and cleaned up without the need for any expensive court battles, just eliminate the problem
Taylor 022415


Anonymous said...

It used to be, "Of the people, for the people, by the people." Now it is, Of the lawyers, for the lawyers, by the lawyers.

The our system of government has been irreparibly corrupted by lawyers and their cronies.

Anonymous said...

Well the mayor and council are familiar with incompetence as they exemplify it themselves so guess they can spot it in the registrars

Anonymous said...

Wooden is in so far over his head, the best we can hope for is that he just goes away

Anonymous said...

Sadly, despite any truths inherent in Mr. Murphy's letter, the majority of the city council as well as Mr. Taylor will be doing their "blind sheep" act once again. Despite the intelligence and quest for conducting council business legally and with integrity--as consistently demonstrated by council members Deutsch, MacDonald, and DeJesus--the other six members have already made up their minds to remove the registrars, and no amount of proof to the contrary will sway them from their positions.

Anonymous said...

As a taxpayer I say every elected official at City Hall has to be removed. This includes any appointed position. City government is a joke and so is the Democratic Town Committee. It is a crime to see, hear and watch what goes on in Hartford. And now a Baseball Stadium. Has anyone at City Hall walked every Hartford neighborhood lately? Needy, hungry and poor children, teens and adults are on every block, corner and intersection. Hartford POVERTY is ramped. What are Mayor Pedro Seggara and City Council President Shawn Wooden thinking about? Obviously themselves and their well groom suits, cars and homes.

peter brush said...

At this point, prior to the intensive study the issue demands, I'd be inclined to favor the proposal of the Secretary of State to get rid of the elected registrars. My prejudice in that direction is especially strong when it comes to shifting authority from our less reliable Hartford Municipal guys to the slightly more reliable State guys.
The attempt to remove the current elected registrars through some sort of ad hoc procedure strikes me as setting a hazardous precedent, if it isn't actually illegal. What's the harm with incompetent registrars now that the election is done? And, in any case, how important are elections here? Let the almost-sleeping dog lie, and concentrate on improving management in important departments.

peter brush said...

Connecticut’s system of 339 locally elected, partisan registrars running elections would be replaced with a single, professional registrar in each community under a plan unveiled Wednesday by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.
Her proposed legislation would require each city or town to have one registrar who meets the minimum qualifications of having a bachelor’s degree or four years of experience in election administration. The registrar would be certified and required to undergo yearly training.
- See more at:

John mendez said...

Why do we care about the incompetence of the ROV when 80 per cent of city hall is incompetent? Mayor Touch of Class is feckless and a cigar store dummy could do a better job then him.

Anonymous said...

If Hartford is so poor, why does Pedro and his cronies eat the most expensive thing if all, caviar, paid for with our tax $$$.
Pedro and Wooden are there for nothing, just to enrich themselves.
As a taxpayer I Denard that they both resign.

Anonymous said...

I think they should fired everyone who work in the registrar office because it was very embrass when you went to vote and your name was not on the ballot. Then they had wrong form for you to fill out let them go.

Anonymous said...

Taylor is practically stealing the taxpayer's money with the Cush job he was handed and as you say Kevin he's to interpret that which he wrote.

Someone needs to wake up and soon because elections are just a little over 8 months away. Who's gonna run those or is it going to be a big quiets ion so that these officials end up getting re-elected because of further chaos they plan to create?



The "someone" that needs to wake up is US, the voters of Hartford. We have all the power on election day to end this corrupt, incompetent behavior by actually voting in people that will represent us and protect our futures, not their own.

We elect these people in and we can vote them out also.

There are almost 50,000 registered voters in Hartford and probably less than 8,000 will vote in the next local elections, there is your answer there.

peter brush said...

less than 8,000 will vote
I tend to think we should be grateful that the voter participation is low. The object should be responsible government, not democracy for democracy's sake. Power to the people ends up being more corrupt and incompetent. Let's go back to the City Manager/Weak Mayor arrangement, and get behind a statute doing away with elected registrars.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, you referenced "costly court battle" in your post. Who would stand to make out in this costly court battle? I'm sure it would not be "we the people!" Lawyers helping other lawyers fleece the taxpayers. Business as usual.

Anonymous said...

Strong Mayor is not the problem, corrupt and incompetent mayor is. And that is exactly what we now have: A mayor who's as corrupt and incompetent as could be.

peter brush said...

True, a strong mayor charter doesn't necessarily mean incompetence. Nor does an appointed city manager necessarily mean competence. But, the evidence is suggestive. In any case, the problem around here is not the size of the electorate, but its quality.
That said, Mr. Perez, who was elected as a Democrat, deserves credit for not allowing warring factions within his party to render him ineffective. Early in his term, when four Democrats on the council tried to impose their handpicked choice for interim city manager, Mr. Perez, in an adroit maneuver, outflanked them. He put together a majority on the council that included two Democrats, two Republicans and a Green Party member.

The coalition has held. It selected the highly respected Albert Ilg as interim city manager over the Democrats' candidate. Upon Mr. Ilg's departure, the council appointed Wethersfield city manager Lee C. Erdmann as city manager. Together, the two managers have done a laudable job of responsibly reducing the city budget.