Mayor Eddie A. Perez was back at work at city hall Monday. He had a busy day by all accounts - but didn't resign.
The mayor, fresh from his conviction Friday on bribery and extortion charges, made no public appearances or statements and spent the day in his office. The question of his resignation went unanswered.
"I don't have any information in regards to what the process is or what the timetable for that process is," said Sarah Barr, Perez's spokeswoman.
City council members, who on Friday threatened to "take action" if Perez didn't make a decision about leaving office, said Monday that they had not received a letter of resignation. Perez told council President Pedro Segarra on Friday that he intended to send such a letter to the council.
"He has some decisions he needs to make," Segarra said Monday. "I anticipate hearing from him." Segarra said he spoke to Perez on Friday and again over the weekend, and said that the mayor indicated he would step down so he could focus on his family.
In the meantime, Segarra, who would serve out the remaining 17 months of Perez's term, said he has started preparing to leave his law practice. Clients of his Hartford firm, Segarra & Associates, will be transferred to other firms, he said.
"Based on everything that's transpired ... I think that's the way I should proceed," Segarra said.
Councilman Larry Deutsch said he was dismayed by the mayor's lack of response.
"I'm disappointed that we've received nothing from him today," he said Monday. "Something needs to be done so the city can move forward."
Deutsch said he plans to call for a special meeting at the end of the week to discuss the city's next steps.
"The council needs to take decisive initiative so that there's a prompt transition, no matter what it takes," he said.
If the council decides to remove the mayor, it may do so by calling a hearing on formal charges. The nine-member panel would need seven members to vote in favor of the removal, according to the city charter.
The council released a statement Friday signed by all nine members saying it would take action - without being specific - if he didn't inform the panel of his plans.
The statement came just hours after Perez was convicted of five felony charges, including bribery and extortion. He was charged with receiving a bribe, fabricating evidence, accessory to the fabrication of evidence, conspiracy to fabricate evidence, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny by extortion and criminal attempt to commit first-degree larceny by extortion. A jury found him guilty on all counts except for a charge of fabricating evidence.
Perez has said he plans to appeal. He also released a statement Friday afternoon saying he would "relinquish" his duties.
"I have decided that it is not in the best interests of the city and my family for me to continue my duties as mayor during the appeal of my case," he said. "I will formally notify the city council shortly of my decision to relinquish my duties."
Once Perez resigns and Segarra becomes mayor, the council will have to appoint a new president and fill a vacancy on the panel. Members said that appointment could happen as soon as June 28, their next scheduled meeting.
STILL AT WORK
Guilty: Mayor Eddie A. Perez convicted Friday on five felony counts
Will Resign: Perez says he will step down.
Monday: No word from Perez on his resignation
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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