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Segarra Appoints Five To Board Of Education, Including Himself

Follows Precedent Set By His Predecessor, Eddie Perez

By Jeff Cohen

January 18, 2012

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has appointed five people to serve on the city's board of education. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, one of those five is Segarra himself.

When he took office, Pedro Segarra told WNPR's Where We Live that he wouldn't be his own first choice to serve on the board of education.

"Initially, my role would be to fully acquaint myself with all the issues and it might be that, I don't know, I might sit on it for a little bit just to understand those issues. But if I had a preference, my preference would be to have someone that's more knowledgeable than what I am on educational issues fulfilling that role."

Now, a year and a half later, Segarra has appointed himself to the board of education. So what happened? Either the mayor has done some homework...or he's had a change of heart.

Some say its a bad idea for a mayor to serve on a board of education -- a sign of a power-hungry chief executive overstepping his bounds. At least, that's what critics said about Eddie Perez, Segarra's predecessor, who also appointed himself to the board.

Others say it's a sign of the city's commitment to the issue. The mayor's spokeswoman says that Segarra wanted to appoint himself for financial reasons -- to be a watchdog over the millions of dollars the city spends on its schools.

Here's what Segarra said about the possibility of serving on the board of education in a 2010 interview.

"Just being there allows you an opportunity to become familiar with all the issues -- the budgeting issues, the financial issues, and also the strategy issues."

But, he said, there are limits.

"If I were to go on the board, definitely not as president. I think being a sitting member is one thing, but being the chair -- it starts to be a little bit overwhelming."

On this, the city says the mayor hasn't changed his mind.

Of the other four people Segarra appointed, two earn their living, in part, with city money -- one is a department head, the other runs the public library. The other two? One is a Republican lawyer, one is an unaffiliated executive at ESPN.

The appointments must now be approved by the city council.

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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