Category Archives: Pedro Segarra

Segarra: ‘For All Those Watching, They Know Who The Real Fool Is’

by Categorized: Budget, City Council, City Hall, Larry Deutsch, Pedro Segarra, Politics Date:

Things have been a little tense between Mayor Pedro Segarra and City Councilman Larry Deutsch, who on Monday raised concerns about Segarra’s proposed budget — specifically, his plans to sell city assets and cut positions.

Segarra unveiled his proposed 2014-15 spending plan on Monday. You can read about it here.

Deutsch, a member of the Working Families Party, fired off a series of emails to the mayor criticizing his proposal. In them, he asked questions and pushed back against calls for job cuts and the selling of city assets. He also complained about tax lien sales and purchasing card (or “p-card”) spending.

In one email, he wrote: “Yesterday you did as threatened: layoffs, again, as your means for forcing concessions. Balancing your budget on the backs of working or unemployed people. Applying proportional furlough days was a means, applied to well-paid non-contracted (non-union) city employees including yourself, and would be a modest ‘shared sacrifice.’”

He added: “So whether it’s you or some other lawyers and politicians who are supposed to represent and protect the city long-term, some may have to leave office if they can’t operate honestly. To recall Abraham Lincoln: ‘You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.’”

Segarra responded in an email today, copied to The Courant:

Larry,

I will not lend myself to your madness. I will deal with these items when we present to council. You offer no real solutions but a lot of cheap rhetoric. For all those watching, they know who the real fool is.

Mayor

You can read the chain of emails here: Emails

What do you think of Segarra’s proposed 2014-15 budget?

Interim COO: Four Unions Have Rejected Concessions

by Categorized: Pedro Segarra, Unions Date:

Four unions–including two of the city’s largest–have rejected Mayor Pedro Segarra’s request for givebacks.

Segarra is counting on $3 million in union concessions to help balance the budget this fiscal year. He approached the bargaining units in 2013 for increased health care contributions — a move he said would help control costs.

But at least four have declined.

In a memo to Council President Shawn Wooden and Councilman Joel Cruz, Interim Chief Operating Officer Albert Ilg wrote:

“The City, as part of the adopted budgeted for FY 2013-2014, agreed to seek $3 million dollars in union concessions. The management of the City scheduled meetings with the Union in the fall of 2013 to begin concession talks. Four of the unions, MLA, CHPEA, 1716, and Police, were unwilling to grant concessions. Contributions from the School Crossing Guards, who are part-time seasonal workers, would have been de minims and the City did not pursue concessions from this bargaining unit. The Fire union agreed to pursue savings by way of the Healthcare Containment Cost Committee and the City is actively working with the Hartford Fire Union to achieve future savings. Additionally, the Human Resources staff is in the process of negotiating with HMEA a new contract. The union, when approached by City management in the fall expressed its intent and willingness to explore concessions as part of the collective bargaining process. Because we are actively engaged in negotiations we are unable to provide details of those efforts.”

Segarra in June put forth a series of proposals designed to increase pension contributions and end expensive health care programs for non-union city employees. The city council approved the measures in December. Segarra also raised the health care contributions for non-union employees.

The mayor began talks with union leaders about proposed health care changes this past fall. He did not provide figures for how much of an increase he was looking to get in the contributions. The contributions differ depending upon the union, he has said.

Segarra told the Courant in December that although the city will receive more money from the state than it had planned this year, layoffs are possible if concessions aren’t achieved.

“We don’t want to continue to eliminate jobs,” Segarra said. “If a different contribution system [were in place], they could at least have some sense of job security. It could benefit both sides.”

AFSCME local 1716 and the Hartford Police Union each represent more than 400 city employees.

We’ll have more on this later this week.

Wednesday COW Meeting On Budget Canceled

by Categorized: Budget, City Council, Eddie Perez, Finance, Pedro Segarra Date:

Tonight’s Committee of the Whole meeting, at which Management and Budget Director Jose Sanchez was to give the city council an overview of the current budget and next year’s projections, has been canceled.

Typically, the city holds public budget meetings with the council beginning in February. But this year’s meetings have been pushed back more than once due to scheduling conflicts, officials in the mayor’s office said.

Shawn Wooden, the city council president, said Wednesday that there was some confusion among council members after a cancellation notice was sent out for the meeting, even though the meeting was still planned to take place. Because of the confusion, the council ultimately decided to postpone the meeting until Monday (March 31).

The following e-mail was sent to the council from its attorney, Allan Taylor:

From: Taylor, Allan [mailto:Allan.Taylor@hartford.gov] Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:01 PM To: City Council Subject: Schedule Update

  Due to the confusion created by the circulation some days ago from the Mayor’s office of an Outlook notice canceling the budget COW session scheduled for tonight, there will be no COW meeting tonight.  On Monday, there will be a special meeting at 4:30 followed by a COW meeting with the nominee for C.O.O followed by a COW meeting that will cover the matters that had been scheduled for tonight.  There will be a second COW meeting on Wednesday at 5:30 to cover the remaining budget presentations (debt service, capital fund, pension fund, etc.) that had been planned for Monday.

Allan B. Taylor

Legislative and Legal Advisor to the City Council

The mayor’s office in the past has stressed the importance of the meetings.

“It’s important that we have these workshops so that we know what to expect,” former Mayor Eddie Perez said during a budget meeting in January 2010.

For those people curious about the outlook for this upcoming fiscal year, the deficit is estimated to be about $44 million (Projected revenues are $531,095,693 and projected expenses are $574,985,000). The mayor’s office said it has paid off the first two installments of the $13 million it owes the treasurer’s office this fiscal year as part of a memorandum of understanding, meaning it has paid about half. You can read more about that, and the budget projections here.

You can also view a budget presentation prepared by Sanchez here: Budget_Presentation_02-27-14

Segarra Names New Chief Operating Officer

by Categorized: Chief Operating Officer, Pedro Segarra Date:

Mayor Pedro Segarra on Wednesday named Darrell V. Hill the city’s new chief operating officer, replacing interim leader Albert G. Ilg. Hill is the first person to the fill the position on a permanent basis since David Panagore’s departure in September 2012.

Hill, 43, worked most recently as assistant city manager in Norfolk, Virginia, overseeing departments and financial operations. He joined city government there in 2009, serving previously as director of finance and business services.

Segarra said Hill has an extensive background in finance. In 2006, he was appointed executive director of the Virginia Resources Authority, the state’s pooled credit agency for local governments, by then-Governor Mark Warner. In that role he oversaw a debt portfolio of more than $1 billion.

Hill is a 1993 graduate of Hampton University. He was born and raised in Hampton, Va.

No start date has been set for Hill, though city officials said he is likely to begin work in early April. His appointment must be approved by the city council.

He will be paid an annual salary of $170,000.

The position of chief operating officer has seen its share of turnover. Corporation Counsel Saundra Kee Borges assumed the job on an interim basis after Panagore’s resignation. But she stepped aside in October, shortly after she and her partner were involved in a car accident with their city-owned vehicle. City hall officials have denied that the accident had anything to do with her leaving the role.

Ilg, who had been working part-time as a special assistant to the mayor, has since served as acting COO.

More soon on Courant.com.

Segarra On Hiring Practices Audit: ‘I Will Make Those Changes’

by Categorized: Internal Audit Commission, Pedro Segarra Date:

Mayor Pedro Segarra indicated Tuesday that he would make the “appropriate” changes to his hiring practices, following an audit that found background checks and drug tests weren’t performed on several mayoral appointees.

Deputy Chief Auditor Craig Trujillo reviewed files for five employees — Pedro Segarra’s chief of staff, Juan Figueroa; interim Chief Operating Officer Albert Ilg, who is serving in the role temporarily; interim Public Works Director Keith Chapman; Human Resources Director Henry Burgos; and former interim finance director Joseph Ruffo. Trujillo found that the employees had not undergone a background check or a drug test, and, with the exception of Burgos, had not submitted job applications.

“We were informed by HR management that their office is not involved in the recruitment, application process, screening and ultimate offer of employment by the mayor’s office,” Trujillo wrote in a memo to Ilg. “Our review of the process and the related personal files of the … employees disclosed that, except for the HR Director, there were no job applications (resumes are not a substitute to an application per HR policy), criminal background checks (in accordance with the city adoption of “Ban The Box”) or drug tests performed or on file and there was no documentation of any references being named or checked with.”

You can read more on that here.

Segarra on Tuesday declined an invitation from the audit commission to attend its meeting. But he said in a memo to the chief auditor: “I have reviewed your audit recommendation with the acting chief operating officer, the corporation counsel, the director of human resources and the acting chief of staff who have met with the [Internal Audit Commission's] staff to go over hiring practices in this office. … I will make those changes and improvements that are appropriate.”

You can read the memo here: Memo

State Of The City Speech Is Monday

by Categorized: City Activities, City Hall, Pedro Segarra Date:

Mark your calendars: Mayor Pedro Segarra will deliver his fourth State of the City speech Monday.

The talk will begin at 5 p.m. in council chambers, on the second floor of city hall (550 Main St.). Seats will be available in the chambers and in the city hall atrium, where the speech will be shown via video projection. On-site translations will be offered in Spanish.

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Mayor Pedro Segarra gives his third State of the City address in council chambers at Hartford City Hall on March 11, 2013. Photo by Rick Hartford.

 

Hartford Bond Rating Upgraded

by Categorized: Adam Cloud, City Hall, Pedro Segarra Date:

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has upgraded the city’s bond rating to AA-, signaling that Hartford has a more stable outlook and strong capacity to meet financial commitments.

The city previously had an A rating. Officials said this year’s upgrade was the largest since 2003.

“We consider Hartford’s economy to be adequate with participation in the broad and diverse Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford [metropolitan area]. We also believe the city benefits from a stabilizing institution given its role as the state capital,” S&P’s report says.

“We view the city’s management conditions as very strong, with strong financial practices.”

The upgrade will allow the city to borrow money at lower interest rates, officials said.

You can read S&P’s report here: S&P Report

More here.

The People’s Budget

by Categorized: Budget, City Council, Pedro Segarra Date:

A free program about the city’s budget adoption process will be held tonight at the Hartford Public Library downtown.

Mayor Pedro Segarra will share his expectations and plans for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Attendees are invited to speak about their priorities for service.

CaptureTonight’s meeting is the first of two on the budget process. A second session, at which participants can experience what it’s like to craft a budget and present their recommendations to the mayor, will be held on March 22.

Tonight’s program will begin at 6 p.m. at the library, 500 Main St. Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m.

The second session will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on March 22 (also at the library).

Segarra To Appear On PBS, Provide Commentary On State Of The Union Address

by Categorized: Pedro Segarra, Politics Date:

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra will be on PBS Newshour tonight following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, appearing as part of a panel discussion on the president’s remarks.

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Mayor Pedro Segarra

Other panelists include Tacoma, Wash. Mayor Marilyn Strickland; Mesa, Ariz. Mayor Scott Smith; and Oklahoma City Mayor Mike Cornett. The State of the Union speech will begin at 9 p.m.

From the city:

WHO: Mayor Segarra, Mayor Strickland of Tacoma, WA, Mayor Cornett of Oklahoma City, OK, Mayor Smith of Mesa, AZ

WHAT: State of the Union Commentary and Response

WHEN: Tuesday, January 28, following the President’s address beginning at 9pm

WHERE: