Mayor Perez Orders Review Of Employee Incentive Program
JEFFREY B. COHEN
September 05, 2009
HARTFORD — - Mayor Eddie A. Perez has ordered a "top down review" of an ongoing employee incentive program one week after The Courant reported that he was giving his chief of staff $11,450 as he walks out city hall's doors.
In a letter to his chief operating officer Friday, Perez stressed that the city's Exceptional Service Increment program is a valuable way to reward employees. That said, the mayor ordered the top down review because of "recently expressed concerns."
Last month, Matt Hennessy, who earns $114,500 a year, announced his resignation effective Sept. 14. Perez gave him a 10 percent bonus as he leaves. On Friday, the city confirmed that Hennessy is the only city employee to have received such a bonus upon departure in the past three years; in the past five years, he is one of only a handful.
But while Hennessy got his payment on the way out, one employee got it before he even started working.
According to documents provided by the city Friday, James Keaney — the mayor's director of capital projects — was hired with an agreement that he would make a $150,000 annual base salary, and that he would get a $15,000 increment payment, too.
The city, which has paid more than $315,000 in such bonus payments since 2007, did not respond when asked if such an incentive payment was an appropriate use of the program.
Councilman Matt Ritter did not think it was. He's hoping to rewrite the city's law governing the program.
"It's the, 'If you show up to work we'll pay you more money,' clause," Ritter said. "That's not what this program should be."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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