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Leadership Swap?

By Jeffrey B. Cohen

June 05, 2009

It apparently wasn't a secret, but Cityline didn't know about it. So maybe you didn't, either.

Here's the scoop: When the council was elected and began its term in 2008, there was a deal: Calixto Torres would serve two years as council president, and Jim Boucher would serve the second two years in the big chair.

"It's no secret," Torres said this week. But it's been a rough year politically -- including an effort by some Democrats to take Torres out of the big chair. Is the deal still the deal come January 2010?

"As far as I know," Torres said, before he chuckled. "Unless I have this overwhelming support from the council members to do another two years."

Cityline learned of the arrangement through the Tweets of a Hartford resident who overheard a Torres relative talking out of school at the DMV.

Boucher said he's still interested in the big chair.

"I work hard and would be interested in providing leadership," he said. But there's been no recent talk of it.

The city's charter provides for two-year terms for the council president.

Also to change could be who serves as the council's minority leader. Now, it's Larry Deutsch of the Working Family Party. Councilman Luis Cotto, of the same party, said they had an understanding that Cotto would become minority leader this January. But he's not insistent on it, he said, and Deutsch said things at City Hall are too unclear these days to talk about leadership six months from now.

For instance, if Mayor Eddie A. Perez does what Deutsch has asked for and resigns -- which Deutsch doesn't think likely -- that would change the council dynamic, he said.

Reprinted with permission of the CityLine blog of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the CityLine at http://blogs.courant.com/cityline/ and the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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