Hartford
5:15 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Segarra, Cloud: Working To Avoid Appearance Of Conflict Of Interest

In Hartford, the mayor and the city treasurer are working to resolve a staffing issue that both say could look like a conflict of interest. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

The concern is the treasurer's office, where Adam Cloud was appointed treasurer earlier this year. But also in that department is his wife, Nicole Plessy-Cloud. She works as a supervisor.

In an outside legal opinion sought on the matter in January, attorneys said that the situation didn't violate the city's ethics code -- but that it could should Cloud make any decisions about his wife's pay or advancement.

But in June, the city's own auditors weighed in -- and said that the working arrangement was not in the city's best interest. They said it could raise questions of favoritism and the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Mayor Pedro Segarra apparently agrees, and he seemed to suggest that the Cloud situation could violate the city's new anti-nepotism policy.

"I've had conversations with the treasurer, in which I've indicated the best scenario is for him not to have a spouse that works in the same office. I've offered to accommodate, by way of transfer because she is our employee, to another department."

The city treasurer is an elected position. Cloud was appointed to the office after the retirement of his predecessor, Kathleen Palm Devine. He is now the Democratic pick for the office in the November elections. In an interview, Cloud says he doesn't see a direct conflict of interest.

"But I do appreciate that there could be a perception of a conflict and it's certainly not something that myself, my wife, or the mayor want to have as an issue. Not in his administration and certainly not in my office."

Cloud says the process has dragged on because of various reasons, including finding a new job for his wife and satisfying the concerns of her union. Also, there was the issue of the Democratic primary.

"Both the mayor and I spent every waking minute working on making sure that this Democratic team won the primary. We did that. Now that we've done that we can focus and get back to resolving this matter."

The mayor says he expects the situation to be fixed soon.

For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.