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Completing The Transition

Pedro Segarra Hartford's mayor doesn't have to be a school board member, too

Hartford Courant editorial

July 06, 2010

Former Mayor Eddie Perez' resignation Wednesday from his seats on the Hartford Board of Education and the school building committee was his finale and it symbolically ushered in an era of hope and change in the city.

The strong mayor system is the right form of government for Hartford, but Mr. Perez the city's first strong executive in at least half a century wanted to arrogate too much power.

It wasn't enough that the mayor has the power, reasonable in strong-mayor government, to appoint a majority of the nine members of the school board. No, Mr. Perez in 2005 had to appoint himself to the board and to the school building committee which was shepherding a $1 billion school construction project and become chairman of both.

He wanted control of everything.

It wasn't until February 2009 that Mr. Perez, arrested weeks earlier on the first of the corruption charges of which he was convicted by a jury last month, resigned the chairmanships of the school board and building committee.

It's now up to new Mayor Pedro E. Segarra to fill the vacancies on the board of education and the building committee created by his predecessor's resignations. And there is a chance he won't appoint himself. He gets credit for at least thinking about alternatives.

In a thoughtful statement Thursday, Mr. Segarra said he would look at "the legislative history regarding this authority of the appointments, and in the event I choose not to be the member, I will meet with educational leaders, the community and candidates to make the best selection."

Good for him. Even in a strong mayor system, there's room for humility.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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