In Hartford, city officials have been wrestling with a possible ethical issue for months. The question was whether the city treasurer should be allowed to supervise his wife. Now, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, city officials say an agreement is near.
Adam Cloud was appointed treasurer earlier this year. But also in that department is his wife, Nicole Plessy-Cloud, who works as a supervisor. City auditors have said that the working arrangement could raise questions of favoritism and the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Now, Mayor Pedro Segarra says he has authorized the transfer of Cloud's wife to the city's finance department. He and Cloud say all that's left are the logistics. Meanwhile, Cloud is facing criticism from political opponents over another issue. Last week, WNPR reported that Cloud -- a Democrat -- has used his work email to ask banks that do business with the city to donate money to a non-profit for back-to-school supplies.
That non-profit, Hartford Communities That Care, is run by a Cloud political supporter. The treasurer has said he was working to increase corporate responsibility and to benefit the city's children. But Michele Hoff Fryar, the Republican candidate for city treasurer running against Cloud this fall, says he shouldn't have done it in his role as treasurer. "You think it's a great cause and it very well may be that. But then, on a Saturday, on your personal time with your personal email and in a very clear personal capacity you contact those people and say, 'Hey, I'm not reaching out to you as the treasurer. I'm reaching out to you because I think it's a good thing to do."
Luis Cotto is the minority leader of the Hartford City Council and is a member of the Working Families Party. He says that Cloud's fundraising for one specific non-profit... "One that is led by a member of the Democratic town committee in an election year is wholly inappropriate...They're not getting $3,000 because they do wonderful work. They're getting $3,000 because their executive director happens to know the treasurer of the City of Hartford. There's wonderful organizations doing great work who don't have the benefit of knowing the treasurer." In an interview, Cloud again apologized if he erred in the way he raised money. But he stood by his decision to raise it.