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Thu March 15, 2012
Segarra's New City Ride
Correction: The mayor's new car is not the black one originally pictured.
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra asked the city's taxpayers this week for shared sacrifice as he works to close next year's projected $54 million dollar budget deficit. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, at the same time he's talking about austerity, he's also got a new city car.
Here's what Segarra said on Monday.
"We must all commit to working in the best interest of our citizens to curtail spending while ensuring the provision of basic services and preserving the quality of life."
Meanwhile, as he spoke, parked out back was a four-wheel-drive Ford Explorer that the city bought in February for nearly $32,000. His previous car was a fuel-efficient Prius.
Jared Kupiec, Segarra's chief of staff, says the police department had already bought the Explorer -- but Acting Chief James Rovella later decided he didn't need it.
"And Chief Rovella made a determination that outside of police and fire, the mayor is the foremost first responder. Living in New England, elements, weather, and travel back and forth to DC and elsewhere throughout the state, that the mayor should have a nice, appropriate vehicle that represented the city well."
Kupiec says that Segarra didn't specifically ask for this car, but he had told Rovella that he wanted four-wheel drive. Unlike his predecessor, Segarra doesn't have a driver and generally gets himself to and from meetings and events. Kupiec says that Chief Rovella decided on his own that the mayor needed the new Explorer.
And check this out.
Cohen: Is it specked out as a cop car?
Kupiec: Uh, correct, I believe so, yeah.
Cohen: Okay. Like lights and sirens and stuff?
Cohen: Just not on top, but inside.
Kupiec: Correct. I believe it has what is called the chief's package.
Kupiec: It's really not that spectacular.
Rovella also appparently decided that Kupiec needed a car, too. His was bought in 2008 and was the former chief's spare.
For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.