Didn’t catch the State of the City speech this evening? You can read Mayor Pedro Segarra’s complete remarks here: SOTC_3102014_FIN
Haven’t filed your taxes yet? IRS-certified volunteers will provide free assistance from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday during Dollars and Sense Day at the downtown Hartford Public Library.
The event, open to the public, is sponsored by the city of Hartford, the Village for Families and Children, and the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.
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.
Need something to do tonight? The Weaver boys’ basketball team will play Maloney-Meriden for the CCC championship after defeating Hartford Public High School in the semifinal Tuesday.
The title game starts at 7 p.m. in Central Connecticut State University’s Detrick Gymnasium in New Britain.
UPDATE: Congrats to Weaver, the CCC tournament champions. Read Tom Yantz’s story here.
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
The registrars of voters’ office this afternoon released the official numbers from Tuesday’s Democratic Town Committee election (for seats in the 7th District). You can view the official results here: Town Committee Primary (Official Results)
Official numbers aren’t yet available, but the registrars of voters’ office has the following unofficial vote totals for candidates in Tuesday’s Democratic Town Committee 7th District election (totals include in-person and absentee votes):
1. Noel F. McGregor Jr.: 311 (won)
2. Louis Watkins Jr.: 307 (won)
3. Georgiana E. Holloway: 298 (won)
4. Donna Y. Daniel: 284 (won)
5. Phyllis E. Airey: 284 (won)
6. John B. Davis: 283 (won)
7. Evelyn R. Richardson: 277 (won)
8. Alisha Shante-Helen Stevens: 274 (won)
9. Cleo Duke-Wright: 274 (won)
10. Douglas McCrory: 272 (won)
11. Rickey Lorenzo Pinckney Sr.: 270 (won)
12. Raymond E. Vail Jr.: 269 (won)
13. Alicia M. Hollingsworth: 266 (won)
14. Belinda Thompson: 262 (won)
15. Ewan A. Sheriff: 261 (won)
16. Kenneth P. Green: 255 (won) *
17. Judith A. Pegram: 245 (did not win) *
18. Terry S. Starks: 240 (did not win)
19. Gwendolyn V. Bailey: 213 (did not win)
20. Estella V. Knight: 206 (did not win)
21. Thomas J. Clarke II: 202 (did not win)
22. Gregory Covington: 198 (did not win)
23. Patricia Ann Nelson: 196 (did not win)
24. Joshua Malik Hall: 196 (did not win)
25. Victoria L. Fennell: 194 (did not win)
26. Barbara Diggs: 193 (did not win)
27. Dyshawn E. Thames: 186 (did not win)
28. Michael James Harris: 185 (did not win)
29. Mark A. Bibbins: 184 (did not win)
30. Kevin R. Brookman: 181 (did not win)
31. Marc H. Lucier: 174 (did not win)
32. Hestervina Soto: 168 (did not win)
* Registrars said Tuesday that there will be an automatic recount between Green and Pegram because there was only a 10-vote difference. The recount is expected to take place on Tuesday, March 11, at 10 a.m. at city hall. For more information on the election, click here.
At times during this brutal winter, the city of Hartford has notified the public about four shelters that are open all day as long as the temperatures are below 25 degrees.
But on this morning, a homeless man named Anthony Bardliving called Cityline to report that the “no-freeze” Immaculate Conception Shelter ordered out dozens of men who slept at the Park Street shelter overnight.
Immaculate typically closes its shelter from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but under the city’s guidelines, it’s supposed to be open during the coldest winter days.
Cityline confirmed that it was about 19 degrees in Hartford, not including the wind chill factor, when Bardliving called at 8:30 a.m. to say it was “inhumane” that the men were left to roam the streets in subfreezing conditions. The Hartford Public Library’s downtown headquarters does not open until 10 a.m., and there are fast-food establishments that don’t want homeless men taking up seats, he said.
Immaculate’s executive director, Louis Gilbert, told Cityline this afternoon that the shelter’s policy has been to close during the day whenever the temperature was above 20 degrees. This morning, “front-line staff” saw on the news that it was 21 degrees in Hartford and decided to close the shelter, Gilbert said.
“They’re supposed to be calling a supervisor when it’s marginal and they didn’t,” Gilbert said. “It’s being dealt with as we speak. It’s a personnel issue … It’s not expected to happen again.”
Immaculate also plans to raise its no-freeze threshold to 25 degrees, he said.
Bardliving admits to have fallen on hard times in his life, including being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, he said. He added that he used to work as a chef at the XL Center.
“I’ve been homeless over a year,” said Bardliving, 52, who estimates he has been a client at Immaculate since last fall. “I don’t see it as a curse that I’m in a shelter … Things happen.”
The city advises people in need of shelter to call 211.
The Hartford Internal Audit Commission has reviewed the city’s practices for hiring unclassified — or non-union — employees (those appointed by Mayor Pedro Segarra), and found that several employees had not undergone a background check, had not submitted to a drug test or been required to fill out a job application.
Deputy Chief Auditor Craig Trujillo reviewed files for the city’s former interim finance director and current interim director of public works, the mayor’s chief of staff, the human resources director and the interim chief operating officer. He also discussed hiring practices with the mayor’s cabinet members, the human resources director and staff.
“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 the interim chief operating officer. “Our review of the process and the related personal files of the above mentioned 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.”
He added: “We acknowledge that the mayor has the authority to discretionally hire under the guidelines of the municipal code and not utilize the resources of HR. However, we recommend that in the future the mayor’s office follow best practices when hiring and bring HR into the post-selection process. The mayor’s office should instruct the HR department to obtain all pertinent hiring information and perform all standard hiring steps that are applied to all other hires by the city and maintain the documentation in related HR files.”
The audit commission began reviewing the city’s hiring practices after it was revealed that Segarra had appointed a deputy chief of staff (who had a criminal history) without performing a background check on him. The candidate later withdrew from the position.
More on this soon at Courant.com. Here’s the memo: Hiring
The Hartford Town and City Clerk’s Office will be open on Saturday, in advance of the Democratic Town Committee election Tuesday.
The clerk’s office will hold special hours from 9 a.m. to noon. It is located on the first floor of city hall, 550 Main St.
The Democratic Town Committee’s 7th District seats are contested. Voters will decide between two slates of candidates. You can read more about the election here.