Segarra Cites 'Efficiency, Economy And The Reduction Of Liabilities'
September 19, 2013
Mayor Pedro Segarra has begun cutting the city's fleet of take-home vehicles, reducing the number of cars from 73 to 45.
Segarra sent a letter to Council President Shawn Wooden saying that due to financial issues, he has been pulling back on the number of take-home vehicles since March.
"It is my belief that we reduced the fleet and take-home vehicles," Segarra said.
"But given our financial position and the council's position on the matter, I feel it necessary to conduct further reductions in the number of vehicles allotted for take-home use in order to acknowledge the city's needs for efficiency, economy and the reduction of liabilities."
The number of take-home vehicles in the police department was reduced from 35 to 32; general government take-home vehicles from 14 to 9; fire from 21 to 4; and emergency services and telecommunications from 3 to 0.
General government includes the mayor, chief operating officer, recreation supervisor, the health and human services relocation specialist and employees in development services, license and inspection and public works.
Segarra said he may call for further reductions "based on budget limitations."
"This subject will be up for review during next year's budget process in order to ensure that we have the minimum number of vehicles necessary to ensure both safety and service continuity for our city's residents," he wrote in the letter.
A lot of attention has been focused on take-home vehicles since Segarra's former chief of staff, Jared Kupiec, was charged in July with using a car without permission and interfering with police.
Police found a city-owned Ford Explorer outside Kupiec's Capitol Avenue home after he had left his city hall job. He admitted that he used the car without permission. Kupiec was later granted a special form of probation.
Earlier this month, the city's deputy public works director, Rhonda Moniz-Carroll, was charged with drunken driving after a crash that totaled a city-issued vehicle and injured another driver. Moniz-Carroll was fired. An attorney for the other driver has contacted the city.
Segarra's office said at the time that 59 employees were assigned take-home vehicles.
At the city council's request, the Hartford Internal Audit Commission is investigating the assignments and policies for take-home vehicles. Commissioners have pointed out that no centralized list of employees with take-home vehicles was kept.
Councilman Kenneth Kennedy has introduced a proposal that would limit the number of take-home vehicles.
Under the plan, only Segarra, Police Chief James Rovella, acting Fire Chief Carlos Huertas, Department of Public Works Director Kevin Burnham and anyone whose vehicle is part of a collective bargaining contract would keep the cars.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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