If your New Year’s resolutions included increasing your level of civic engagement, then you can take a step toward fulfilling that goal tonight. The swearing in ceremony will take place in the atrium of City Hall. This is free and open to the public, but about forty seats will already be reserved for the families and friends of Mayor Segarra and the incoming City Council.
Mayor Segarra, who was appointed and sworn in during the Perez scandal in June 2010, has been elected by the people and will begin his first full term as Hartford’s 66th mayor.
City Councilpersons being sworn in include eight men and one woman: Alex Aponte (Democrat), Kyle Anderson (D), Luis Cotto (Working Families), Raul DeJesus (D), Larry Deutsch (WF), Cynthia Jennings (WF), Ken Kennedy (D), David MacDonald (D), and Shawn Wooden (D).
Adam Cloud, who was appointed to the position of Treasurer in February 2011, will be sworn in as well. After a political season of deal cutting among Democrats, Mayor Segarra eventually vetoed the $10,000 pay raise that was promised to Cloud, saying that it would have violated the state constitution. Cloud makes $140,000.
The controversial pay raise for City Council, which was originally voted for by residents, was voted down this past November. Hartford City Council members each make $15,000 per year.
The thwarted pay raises were not the only controversies associated with those just elected. In mid-December, as most residents turned their attention toward the holidays, the Mayor, Chief Operating Officer, Chief of Staff, and other officials, along with the incoming City Council members, went on a weekend retreat in Chester that bore the price tag of $10,000. There was no official announcement of this meeting, which was described as “not a public event” by the Director of Communications and New Media. Hartford’s City Charter states: “All meetings shall be open to the public and the council shall make provision, in its rules, for a public comment period during, at least, one (1) meeting per month.” Because this retreat included those who had not yet been sworn in, such a meeting was able to happen without it being open to the public. Informal notes from the meeting describe it as partially a leadership building event, partially an opportunity to discuss ethics, and partly an ice-breaker for the newly elected.
Tonight’s ceremony begins at seven. There is parking available in the garage next to the Hartford Public Library.