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Proposed Hartford Ordinance Aims To Clear Out Police Upper Ranks

By Jeff Cohen

July 13, 2012

As James Rovella prepares himself to be Hartford's next permanent police chief, there's a move on the city council to clear out the police department's upper ranks.

Ken Kennedy is a city councilman and an ally of Mayor Pedro Segarra. He's got an ordinance pending that would give an incentive to the city's two assistant chiefs to retire. He's working on another that would apply to the two deputy chiefs.

"If there's going to be a shift in management, I think you give this chief -- or any new chief -- the opportunity, with a very short window, to decide if he wants these folks or not. And if he doesn't want them, move them on."

Kennedy says the measures he's working on would let police management use their accrued and unused sick time to essentially buy extra years of service toward their retirement. It's a peaceful way of getting rid of people. Kennedy says the chief could fire them, but that's a less attractive option. But the overriding point is to give the chief a chance to have his own staff.

Rovella is the acting chief. Earlier this week, Segarra chose him to be the city's next permanent chief as of July 18 -- after the city completes a background check. But there are still concerns about how Segarra picked Rovella -- who didn't participate in a months-long, $50,000 national search for the job. Kennedy says the process causes him concern, and he's not sure he's voting for Rovella.

"I think if the chief wanted to be considered for this job, then he should have engaged in the process that all the other candidates went trough. I don't think I'm the only person that shares the concern."

That makes him at least the second council Democrat to question Segarra's process. Council President Shawn Wooden has expressed similar reservations.

For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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