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Hartford Voters Should Be Able To Choose

Hartford Mayor GOP leader McGarry right on principle

Hartford Courant editorial

July 08, 2010

Hartford Republican Town Chairman Michael McGarry wants the city to hold a special election this November so voters can pick a mayor to succeed Eddie Perez, who resigned last month after being convicted on corruption charges.

Sorry Mr. McGarry, but the city charter doesn't support you.

However, the next charter revision commission should consider a change that would let voters fill a vacancy in the mayor's office.

After Mr. Perez's resignation, city council President Pedro Segarra was sworn in to succeed him, as directed by the charter, which has no provision for a special election to fill a vacancy. Mr. Segarra is legitimately the mayor until January 2012.

A petition filed by Mr. McGarry observes that other cities have "simple procedures for filling vacancies, giving voters the right to pick their mayor. Hartford voters deserve the same consideration."

Nothing at all against Mr. Segarra, but Mr. McGarry has a point.

There are 17 months to go in Mr. Perez's unexpired term. That's a long time for the office to be occupied by an unelected mayor. If the vacancy were for a week or a month or even six months, that's one thing. But for nearly a year and a half? All things being equal, the position of Hartford mayor, with its strong executive powers, should be filled by popular vote when a vacancy occurs.

The issue is worthy of further discussion by charter revisers.

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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