Although he's been in office for only a couple of months, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra seems to understand the city's dire fiscal outlook. He has eliminated two positions, had one department head double up, merged some offices and employed other cost-cutting measures.
Mr. Segarra also has directed department heads to develop strategies to meet the mayor's goals of cutting spending, increasing revenue and improving services to residents in the current fiscal year, and given them a deadline of Oct. 1.
This is a promising start, with undeniable symbolic value. For example, one of the positions he eliminated was that of the mayor's driver. (Not to kick him when he is down, but what was former Mayor Eddie Perez doing with a paid driver? Was Mr. Perez laboring under the impression that he was Michael Bloomberg?) Now people see Mr. Segarra driving himself, and that sends a good message.
But symbolism is thin gruel in such tough economic times. The real challenge will be the larger budget cuts, the ones that step on some big toes. The taxpayers wish him well.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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