Caviar Takes Its Toll

May 9, 2013

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has made headlines recently for questionable city spending -- like dining on caviar at taxpayer expense. Now, it looks as though the city council is taking concrete action to push back. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, it's likely the council will reject Segarra's appointment for the city's chief operating officer.

Saundra Kee Borges has served as the city's acting COO since last summer. Eventually, Mayor Segarra decided to have her do the job on a permanent basis. But that appointment needs the approval of the city council. "She does not have the support among the council." That's Council President Shawn Wooden. He says the opposition to her appointment is broad.

"There are serious questions, some of them playing out in the media as we speak, regarding the administration of the city. And so, with her being the acting chief operating officer the past seven months -- she's a part of the management of the city." In a statement, Segarra called Kee Borges "smart, experienced and capable." He says he hopes the council confirms her. Segarra's administration has come under heavy scrutiny following an internal audit that questioned the use of city credit cards for business entertainment. 

One event that has caught a lot of attention -- a New Year's Eve dinner for the mayor, his spouse, some staffers, and others that initially cost taxpayers $700. The mayor and his chief of staff have since paid the tab back. But that charge, and others for meals and travel, have caused concern on the council. In addition to Monday's vote on Kee Borges, the council may also vote to refer the internal audit to state prosecutors for their review.