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Was Perez Working While He Was On Trial? Former hartford mayor is seeking back vacation pay from

Former hartford mayor is seeking back vacation pay from the city

By Jeff Cohen

April 20, 2011

Convicted former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez is seeking what could amount to tens of thousands of dollars in back vacation and sick time. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, there's a question as to whether Perez was at work or on vacation while he was on trial last year for corruption.

Just as his trial was set to begin last year, I asked then Mayor Perez if he intended on working while he defended himself in court.

Perez: The American experience is not an easy experience. This will be another experience in the city's chapter.

Cohen: Will you be here full time during the trial?

Perez: I plan to be mayor, yes.

But as Perez looks to the city to pay him for unused hours, one issue is how the mayor treated his time on trial -- was he on the clock, or wasn't he?

In letters to the city from late last year, Perez attorney Bart Halloran said that the former mayor is due payment for about twelve hundred hours of unused vacation time and more than 760 hours of back sick pay.

Halloran said he based the numbers on those from the mayor's paystub. Then, he deducted about 460 hours between 2004 and 2009 for which Perez says he took vacation -- but didn't report it. So, by his own accounting, Perez would be eligible for about $50,000 in back vacation pay.

But the former mayor's numbers make no mention of his time on trial in 2010. And Halloran, his attorney, says he doesn't know how the mayor accounted for that time.

City Councilman Ken Kennedy says that could prove problematic.

"Does he include any of his time at trial and the time that he took off from city work? Because the mayor's trial was rather extensive, went about six weeks long, and he was gone for significant portions of the day."

For its part, the city says Perez apparently didn't keep detailed records of his work schedule while he was mayor. As a result, it's unable to come up with a the actual amount of hours owed.

In a statement, Mayor Pedro Segarra said he has to date refused to pay Perez because his claims of vacation time were not verifiable.

The two sides plan to settle the issue in binding arbitration.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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