Segarra Wants New Fraud Policy

May 24, 2011

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is asking the city council to approve a new policy that defines municipal fraud.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the proposal sets out guidelines for investigating fraud and for  disciplining city employees. Segarra took office last year after the resignation of then Mayor Eddie Perez -- who was convicted on various corruption related counts. Now, nearly a year later, Segarra wants the city council to approve a policy that tells employees and public officials exactly where the lines are drawn. "This is something that has not been in place." That's Jared Kupiec, Segarra's chief of staff.  "There hasn't been any recorded, documented, formal fraud policy.  And so this corrects what the mayor believes is a gross oversight." Kupiec says that state law covers criminal acts and the city's ethics code covers ethical violations.  This new policy would simply augment existing ones. Segarra is in the midst of his first mayoral election.  Shawn Wooden is one of the candidates running against him and has done some significant fundraising.  He says he supports any action taken against fraud, but he questions why Segarra is introducing the measure now. "Since the mayor has been in city hall for many, many years and he's never proposed this or raised this, the timing of it in an election year is questionable." But Councilman Kenneth Kennedy, a Segarra supporter, says that this new proposal is not just a thing of election-year politics. "I don't think this mayor is doing anything necessarily, quote un-quote, political.  He's been the good-government guy since he took office." A public hearing is scheduled for June. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.