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Mayor's Departure Is Long Overdue

Helen Ubiñas

June 23, 2010

By this point, the idea was that convicted felon Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez would have handed over the reins to the city to council President Pedro Segarra.

He'd submit his letter of resignation Monday we were told after a vaguely worded press release about "relinquishing" his duties following his five convictions last week.

But Monday came and went without a letter of resignation — or whatever word Perez decides to choose to convey that he's out.

And then Tuesday came and just another press release that this time said Perez would submit his letter of resignation on Friday.

"After lengthy and heartfelt discussions with my family and council President Pedro Segarra, I will submit my letter of resignation as Mayor on Friday, June 25, 2010."

Painful, but at least finally over, right?

Not so fast. Also in the brief statement was this vague sentence: "The effective date will be worked out with Council leadership in order to allow for a smooth transition."

Hmmm. There's a fancy phrase for that: wiggle room. Even after a press conference called by the city council that started nearly an hour and half late, things weren't much clearer. Segarra said he and the mayor discussed a date, but declined to say what it was.

There are certainly things to be worked out. Segarra needs to close up his law firm. Perez needs to pack up. There will be a challenging transition period. But all of that can, and should, be done with a new leader — if for no other reason than to signal to the public that the city is finally moving in the right direction.

Instead, city residents are left in limbo, a state they've been in for way too long as their mayor was investigated and then tried on corruption charges. Perez's ever-loyal chief of staff Susan McMullen told WNPR's Jeff Cohen that " he won't actually resign until a later date." And in the meantime, he'll "be in and out."

Sorry, that's not acceptable. If El Jefe decides to drag out his overdue departure any longer, the man who's insisted he's all about the city has once again chosen to put himself first.

"It is time to move the City forward," Perez said in his Tuesday statement. "I am truly sorry for the mistakes I have made that have harmed the City that I love."

It's time to show that love, mayor. The city needs to move on Jefe, and so do you.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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