Category Archives: Pedro Segarra

Before Negotiations, Rock Cats Vouchers

by Categorized: Ball Park, City Hall, Pedro Segarra, Rock Cats Date:

Three months before Mayor Pedro Segarra and other city officials sat down with Rock Cats owners to discuss the team’s relocation to Hartford, the city received hundreds of vouchers to a Rock Cats baseball game — provided by the franchise.

In an August 2012 email, former Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec wrote to several department heads asking if they wanted one of the “several hundred vouchers” Segarra had received to a Sept. 2, 2012 Rock Cats game. The Rock Cats were playing the New Hampshire Fisher Cats that day. The Fisher Cats are owned by Art Solomon, whose son, Josh Solomon, owns the Rock Cats. City emails obtained by The Courant show that Art Solomon was involved in the meetings and negotiations surrounding the Rock Cats’ proposed move to Hartford.

vouchers

IAC Asks Ethics To Investigate Mayor’s Hiring Of Interim Employee

by Categorized: City Hall, Internal Audit Commission, Pedro Segarra Date:

The Hartford Internal Audit Commission has sent a letter to the city’s ethics commission asking the panel to investigate a possible ethical violation by Mayor Pedro Segarra.

The audit commission said Segarra has kept an interim department head on the payroll in that position for longer than six months — a violation of Hartford’s municipal code. The six-month term for employee Keith Chapman, who is serving as the interim public works director, was to expire in March.

“Six months have passed since this temporary appointment started and the mayor has not submitted the appointment to the council for confirmation as required by the charter,” commissioners wrote in a letter dated May 21. “Because this matter has not been addressed as required, the mayor has not effectively executed the laws in accordance with the previously noted terms and conditions of the city charter. We are further concerned that this will not be adequately addressed by June 30, 2014 as promised by the [chief operating officer].”

You can read the letter here: Ethics Commission Referral Letter RE Acting DPW Director Final.Signed

Budget Cuts: Who’s Affected

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

The council last night cut about $6.4 million from Mayor Pedro Segarra’s proposed $557.4 million budget in order to avoid a tax hike. The cuts break down as follows:

Mayor’s Office: $9,000 reduction

Office of the Chief Operating Officer: $10,000 reduction

Department of Communications and New Media: $50,000 reduction

Court of Common Council: $10,000 reduction

Office of Corporation Counsel: $17,000 reduction

Metro Hartford Information Services (IT Office): $16,000 reduction

Office of Management and Budget: $6,000 reduction

Department of Children, Families and Recreation: $100,000 reduction

Fire Department: $375,000 reduction

Police Department: $825,000 reduction*

Health and Human Services Department: $100,000 reduction

Department of Debt Service: $1,710,000 reduction

Benefits & Insurance Department: $3,815,000

Sundry Account: $500,000

*The amendments also include increases to some budgets. They are as follows:

Police Department: Addition of $420,000 for a class of 20 officers effective Jan. 1, 2015; addition of $105,000 for 19 civilian positions (19 officers will be moved from desk jobs and put back on patrol; their positions will be back-filled with civilians); and the addition of $105,000 for the recruitment of 10 police cadets.

Human Resources Department: $100,000 addition (HR employees from the police department would be transferred to city hall)

Finance Department: $200,000 addition (Finance employees from the police department would be transferred to city hall)

Various: $129,000 addition that breaks down as — $50,000 for Hartford 2000 Energy Improvement District; $25,000 for Winterfest; $25,000 for the Greater Hartford Arts Council; and $4,000 for Riverfront Recapture.

The amendments passed Tuesday by a vote of 8-1, with Councilman Larry Deutsch dissenting. The mayor has said he agrees with the changes. The council is expected to pass a budget on Tuesday. For more, click here.

Public Meeting On Segarra’s Budget Is Wednesday

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

Mayor Pedro Segarra’s proposed 2014-15 budget has stirred up a lot of debate lately — mostly over whether the city should sell its parking assets to the pension fund. The plan also includes a tax rate increase, departmental cuts and job eliminations, which could mean layoffs if payroll reduction targets aren’t met.

More on that here.

The public is invited to speak on the budget Wednesday at Bulkeley High School (300 Wethersfield Ave.), starting at 6 p.m. Segarra will attend the meeting, along with members of the city council. Those interested in sharing their thoughts should sign in when they arrive.

The council is also preparing to hold a series of budget meetings with department heads. All meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

They are:

Thursday, May 2: Financial Overview
Management & Budget Office
Finance Department
Capital Improvement Plan
Office of the City Treasurer
Human Resources Department

Monday, May 5: Public Safety
Emergency Services
Police Department
Fire Department
Public Works Department

Tuesday, May 6: Community and Business Collaborations
Dept. of Families, Children, Youth & Recreation
Health & Human Services
Development Services

Thursday, May 8: Other City Entities
Internal Audit Department
MetroHartford Information Services
311 Call Center
Hartford Public Library
Hartford Parking Authority
Board of Education

Tuesday, May 13: City Officers and Legal Matters
Corporation Counsel’s Office
Town & City Clerk
Registrars of Voters
Mayor’s Office & Constituent Services
Office of the Chief Operating Officer

The council will begin deliberating about changes to Segarra’s proposed budget on May 15. The city’s deadline to adopt a budget is May 31.

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