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A Convict Hanging Around The Mayor's Office

Eddie Perez: Convicted mayor should have resigned yesterday if not sooner

Hartford Courant

June 24, 2010

Eddie Perez's immediate resignation as mayor would be in the city of Hartford's best interests.

After all, "his honor" was convicted of five felony corruption charges, including bribery and extortion, last week.

How could his hanging around even a day longer help in any meaningful way in an orderly transition of power to city council President Pedro Segarra? Under the city charter, Mr. Segarra becomes mayor for the remainder of Mr. Perez's term until November 2011.

What's needed is a clean and immediate break, with Mr. Perez out the door and Mr. Segarra sitting in the mayor's chair. It won't take the new mayor long to get his sea legs. He's got the experience as council leader and a former top lawyer for the city to quickly get up to speed.

Mr. Perez says he will submit his letter of resignation Friday.

However, he said in a statement earlier this week that the effective date of his resignation "will be worked out with council leadership in order to allow for a smooth transition."

What's to work out? If he truly loves the city, as he said in his statement Tuesday, Mr. Perez would be gone in an instant.

Hartford suffers with a convicted felon in the mayor's office. Outsiders must be scratching their heads in astonishment.

Mr. Segarra only confused the situation when he said at the Tuesday news conference that he wanted to assure Hartford people "that any delay in terms of us making this transition is only brought about by us trying to do what is responsible and prompt and meets with all the different interests that are involved in this situation."

Sarah Barr, Mr. Perez' spokeswoman, further muddied the water by saying that Mr. Perez "needs to clarify a timeline" with city leaders.

Here's how to clarify the timeline: The council should make known its intention to begin removal proceedings under the charter if Mr. Perez does not resign, effective immediately.

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.
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