Everybody seems to be mad at everybody in Hartford City Hall. That's too bad because a united front in these times is a much better selling tool than a perception of disunity. Soon, we'll see the media - Dennis House, The Courant, the talking heads in Channel 61, moaning about the Mayor and Council at logger heads.
The reasons are many but all added up the actual dollar amount of all the questionable expenditures mean little, its perception and perception often can be reality. It's appointments, the bonuses, the registrar's office, the credit calls, the use of influence by ranking officials, residency questions ... all rolled up into perceived attitude problem that is busting up old political partnerships and even friendships, these factors added up to a postponement of the vote on Chief Executive Officer Monday night. One would think that the democratic majority on Council would back the choice of the Democratic Mayor, Sandra Kee Borges and move on with business, especially in this time of budget crisis.
But, here we have a situation of the city on the brink of financial ruin (unless the state legislature steps in) and now we have a potential management bust-up. There is no question that , because of built-in costs (pensions, public safety, bond payments...) Hartford is in a box: raise taxes and you'll collect less, cut services anymore and people will leave. Something has to give and fast. Certainly next year's budget cannot be the patched together model we are faced with this year. It's not personnel that caused the problem, it's years of Hartford overspending and overcommitting it's scarcer resources.
Some members of council seem to have great political ambitions. The joke going around town is that Congressman Wooden is already looking for digs in Washington, D.C. Our view is that nobody gains, politically or personally from a failed city and once the drum beat of disunity starts, the perception of a failed city could become a reality.