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Paralysis Grips Hartford City Council

After scandal, city needs strong leadership from new mayor, council

Hartford Courant

July 01, 2010

It isn't a good sign that the Hartford city council seems unable to agree on whom to elect president now that Eddie Perez has resigned as mayor and former council President Pedro E. Segarra was sworn in to replace him.

Mr. Segarra isn't the problem. He is experienced, having served as a council member and as the city's corporation counsel. He starts off as mayor with considerable good will throughout city hall.

After taking over from Mr. Perez, who was convicted on felony corruption charges on June 17, Mr. Segarra promised change in the way city government operates and new personnel in some key positions (including, we hope, a house-cleaning in the corporation counsel's office).

Though the mayor has strong executive powers, it would help if there were a united council to assist him or to be an effective check if needed. But the council is stuck in neutral as members try to pick a president to succeed Mr. Segarra, along with a new ninth member.

Democratic Majority Leader rJo Winch and Deputy Majority Leader James Boucher both want the job, but neither apparently has lined up the needed five votes to become president.

Ms. Winch, so strongly identified as a Perez ally when he was in power, is not the best choice to lead the council into the future.

The best choice for council president would be Councilman Ken Kennedy, who often was alone in trying to check the former mayor's use of power when Mr. Perez was riding high.

People of the city and beyond will be watching the post-Perez Hartford city government. The stakes for the city are high. A weak, divided, ineffective council is the last thing Hartford needs.

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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