Butt Ugly Building On Its Way. Could The Capitol West Building Be Next?
July 27, 2010
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has finished his first month on the job. WNPR’s Jeff Cohen sat down with him Monday for an interview.
Segarra took office on June 25, following the conviction and resignation of Eddie Perez on corruption charges. And here’s how he describes the job.
“Overwhelming…” He hasn’t seen much of his family, he hasn’t found a lot of time to sleep, and he’s doing his best to run the city, balance the budget, and be accessible.
“But I think that what makes it overwhelming is that this is a unique city because you have residents that expect to pick up their phone, call the mayor, for the mayor to answer, and immediately resolve the problem.”
Segarra began his time in office with at least one high-profile move. He fast-tracked the demolition of a downtown eyesore called the Butt Ugly building. And, now, he says more ugly buildings could follow. I asked him if he was trying to knock down the vacant building off I-84 known as the Capitol West building.
"I could be..."
A month into the job, there are still a lot of appointments that need to be made. Segarra has been looking for someone to take Perez’s seat on the board of education. The new mayor says he hasn’t ruled out appointing himself, as Perez did. But he did rule out taking on the job of school board president.
Segarra's old seat on the city council is still vacant. It's up to his former council colleagues to pick a replacement and choose a new council president.
"Like I said, I'll start doing that work and they can join me when they're ready."
Meanwhile, Segarra has assembled a core staff, and he’s now close to completing his reevaluation of the city's department heads. That will include downsizing the mayor's office itself.
And that, he says, will mean not having a mayoral driver, like his predecessor did. Segarra says driving gives him time to think, and not having a driver will save the city money.
"I already know that if i don't have a driver, I'm going to be 10 minutes late to every single appointment. And that's the consequence. But hopefully I'll make it up at the end of the day, right?"
And that is how a man who says he's overwhelmed by his new job can manage to keep a little bit of control.