No one can accuse Mayor Luke Bronin of showing or exercising much vision when it comes to the future of Hartford. He does deserve an A- plus for placing blame though and has proven pretty good at blaming everyone else for the failures of City Hall. Everyone else except himself though. Bronin may have to start taking responsibility soon though.
Almost two years ago, I had spoke to several City Council people and posted here regarding the renewal of the contract for Hartford Police Chief James Rovella .The renewal appeared to be in jeopardy for some time, but eventually the City came to it senses and offered a 2 year renewal to Rovella.
I had stressed to the people that I spoke with that that the contract should come with a stipulation that the City should promote from within or go outside to find a suitable Assistant Chief to work closely with Rovella and be ready to succeed Rovella for a clean and smooth transition when Rovella leaves.
Here is my posting regarding Rovella's contract and the need for a succesion plan from 2015. http://wethepeoplehartford.blogspot.com/2016/09/if-it-matters-i-support-chief-rovella.html
I know, more crazy talk from me. Decent management plans are not something known to the City of Hartford ,where chaos and incompetence abounds.
Needless to say, no successor was ever identified. No successor was mentored by Chief Rovella and no "heir apparent" is in place, even though Chief Rovella is leaving in a few short months.
Keeping HPD functioning under the current conditions is a miracle in itself and is a credit to the skills of Chief Rovella. In a City racked with financial issues and a police department that is almost 150 officers short and the remaining officers working without a current contract, it is amazing it works at all.
I am not sure Mayor Bronin comprehends the importance of his pick for Police Chief. I am already hearing that the next Chief has quite possibly been chosen by Bronin. If sources are accurate, it may very well be a high ranking Connecticut State Police Trooper. I hope , for once, my sources are wrong, because it would be a huge mistake for Bronin to make the selection without any transparency or even public input. Before Chief Rovella was appointed as the permanent Chief there were numerous public forums and interviews, some might say inquisitions held.
Adding to the problem is the fact that Chief Rovella has kept the Assistant Chief's spots unfilled for the last couple years for budget reasons. Long term that might prove to be a mistake.
The bench is pretty thin at HPD right now for anyone even close to Rovella's skills and knowledge. Two names are currently circulating as potential Assistant Chief 's in preparation. One, Deputy Chief William Long is probably the most qualified and capable, but as this is Hartford, most qualified and capable doesn't usually count for much. The second name being floated has more baggage than an arrivals carousel at Bradley Airport, so he will probably be the Bronin pick. You can read about some of that baggage here, and there is plenty more that I am sure will come out eventually. "Conduct unbecoming" charges are not good attributes for a potential key leadership role
The future of HPD is too important and valuable for Hartford and its residents to make poor, hasty or even political decisions regarding the next Chief.
We need a Chief similar to Chief Rovella, not a puppet of City Hall.