Some days I think Hartford thrives on being embarrassed. The Dillon Stadium fiasco proves it. Council President Shawn Wooden is now becoming a master at back pedaling as witnessed by his performance at last nights Council meeting. Wooden voiced his displeasure on being called on the carpet by the public at last nights public comment session. Councilman Ken Kennedy quickly withdrew his resolution giving the keys to the Kingdom to James Pluckett and his fellow snake oil salesmen.
Wasn't Ken Kennedy the same one that has been shoving this development down our throats for months to cement his legacy as a soccer dad? Wasn't Kennedy the same Councilperson that sandbagged the first developer that was in line for the project. The developer who is now suing the City of Hartford for its actions. I am pretty sure his case has been strengthened now by Hartford's actions and should be a slamdunk for a large settlement.
But let's get back to Wooden and the Council's actions. Wooden has every right to be indignant because this Council has been deplorable. Through their actions (or more appropriately inaction) the Council has empowered the air of incompetence that enshrines City Hall and this administration.
Remember the caviar and P-card incidents first outlined here? Where were the investigations and hearings into that ? There were none, again a little indignation but no one ever dug into the problem to get to the bottom of it. Maybe a memo advising employees that putting food and alcohol on City credit cards was a no-no. No discipline, nothing.
Remember all the trees cut from Keney Park by a rogue vendor profiting off the backs of Hartford's taxpayers . Again, questionable letters of credit and very poor oversight by City employees. What happened? Nothing. Does anyone remember the Council hearings on that matter? No you won't because there weren't any.
Incident after incident of incompetent business practices have been described here on this very blog. Many of those incidents have resulted in audits by Hartford's Internal Audit Commission. The results of those audits have ended in very specific recommendations by the Audit Commission to the Council , the Mayor and Department heads. For the most part those recommendations have fallen on deaf ears
After the Keney Park incident, the Commission recommended hiring an asset manager for the City. A City Hall employee had also recommended instituting an asset protection program after realizing that many City employees left employment and never turned in their I-pads, cell phones and laptops. Apparently at the time that the asset program was suggested there was no small asset inventory program. No one really kept a record of who was issued a cell phone or laptop, hence, no way to track what should be turned back in., and to the best of my knowledge, there still isn't an asset protection program. Incidentally, the employee who recommended the program has since been terminated by the brain trust at City Hall.
Hartford is a free-for- all and exemplifies the height of incompetence . These practices would never survive in the private sector, yet at Hartford City Hall they are rewarded. And in most cases the City Hall so-called managers are paid significantly more than their counterparts working for private businesses.
Hartford has a suite full of attorneys as well as a floor full of so called experts occupying high priced real estate at Constitution Plaza (Development Services) Are they so focused on proclaiming the next "Done Deal" as their resume builder that they are afraid to actually examine the deals closely? Could anyone with any common sense look at the Dillon Stadium deal and not realize the documents and the deal stunk to high heavens?
And how did Duckett arrive at the land of opportunity for sleazy scammers, also known as Hartford Connecticut? The theories abound, one being that there may have been a relationship between a certain Councilman and youth Soccer programs he was involved with. And how did invoices get overpaid with apparently duplicate payments with very little , or no oversight? One source claims there may have been a "dating relationship" between one of the persons signing off on the invoices and Mr. Duckett himself. I guess the investigators looking into the dirty deal will have to develop that information further.
In the meantime Council President Wooden, save the indignation and take a look in the mirror. How much of this fleecing of Hartford could you have stopped over the years with some actual leadership. I know the truth hurts, but you had the potential to form a different direction for Hartford and you chose not to. Maybe you weren't ready and didn't know how to, but hopefully your replacements coming in will understand a little better why they were actually elected and what leadership requires.
Below are a sampling of documents used to determine the validity of this project. Would they have raised any red flags for you?