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Commish Questions Walmart’s Check Cashing Business


HARTFORD — Connecticut Commissioner of Revenue Services Kevin Sullivan said on Friday that income tax check cashing being offered at some Walmart stores for the first time this year is “just a way to lure taxpayers into spending at Walmart the minute they get their hard-earned refunds.”

As a result, Sullivan’s office contacted Wal-Mart to determine whether this is happening in Connecticut and, if so, under what terms and conditions.

According to its corporate website, Walmart has made a deal with Green Dot Corporation’s Tax Products Group and with Republic Bank & Trust Company so that the big-box retailer can cash in on taxpayer refunds of up to $7,500.  Jackson Hewitt already contracts with Walmart to sell tax preparation centers at store sites, including the tie-in of a $50 Walmart gift card.

The “Direct2Cash” marketing scheme targets low and middle income taxpayers – especially those receiving federal and state Earned Income Tax credits.  For an additional $7 fee at the time of tax preparation and filing, refunds are directed to Wal-Mart’s “banking” partners instead of being mailed directly to taxpayers.

Taxpayers must pick-up their refunds in cash at a store-based Walmart Money Center or customer service desk.  Then, Sullivan said, “It’s welcome to Wal-Mart and good-bye refund.  While pretending to help otherwise bankless taxpayers, Walmart is really just helping itself to turn tax refunds into immediate store sales.”

Additionally, Walmart requires taxpayers to have a “confirmation code” to pick up their refund. Some codes expire in as little as two weeks, which requires taxpayers to return to their preparer and arrange a different refund method.

Sullivan said this is just one more reason why the Department of Revenue Services will also be examining standards and practices for tax preparers.

 

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New Haven Man Busted for Violating State Ethics


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  A Mental Health and Addiction Services employee was busted for violating the state’s code of ethics when he used state money and time to do his own business, according to state officials.

State officials said Jason Spann of New Haven violated the Code of Ethics used the state’s resources to operate his own clinical services business.

He was fined $$3,500 by the Enforcement Division of the Office of State Ethics. He was fired for another  related personnel action, officials said.

From 2010 through 2014, while a state employee, Spann owned and operated a clinical services business.  During this time period, Spann utilized state resources, including his state-issued computer and state-provided e-mail account, in order to conduct his private business, according to officials.

Additionally, the investigation revealed that Spann also used another state employee to perform tasks related to his private practice, while using state resources on state time and being paid by the state.

Under the  Code of Ethics, a public official or state employee is prohibited from using state resources to obtain personal financial or other gains.

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Former US Sailor Rocks Boat with Federal Lawsuit


By Aatif Ali Bokhari, Muslim Observer
Being a US sailor allowed Jonathan Berts a chance to travel around the world and study Arabic and Islam, but he says his commitment to faith resulted in mistreatment and an unfair dismissal.

The nine-year veteran filed a federal lawsuit last month in Sacramento for being illegally denied his right to reenlist in 2012 due to his keeping a beard for religious reasons.

The trouble started not long after Berts began keeping the beard. “I didn’t think anything of it. It was just me growing in my knowledge and having a better awareness of Islam. I thought it was necessary to grow a beard so I began doing so,” he said.

Berts had kept a beard earlier in his career for medical reasons; his commitment to the navy was not questioned then. It was only after receiving encouragement from Muslim chaplains to embrace “his faith outwardly as a Muslim” that the 2nd petty class officer said the mistreatment started.

The military allows for beards to be kept at the discretion of commanding officers. His request and appeal for permission were denied, reported the Los Angeles Times.

“Before I grew a beard nobody asked any questions. They would ask why I began wearing a beard, and I said that I wanted to live openly as a Muslim. I started praying and fasting regularly as well.”

Berts had a middling rank and was trusted with being a teacher of military history and a boot camp
instructor in the Chicago area. He was also a fourth generation member of the military, a source of pride for him. He was shocked by what he said happened next.

“The line of questioning from my seniors was inappropriate. They started asking me my ideas about the constitution and about Osama bin laden. They started asking me if I knew who Nidal Malik Hasan was, the guy who killed 13 people at Fort Hood. They stared making jokes at my expense – winking and smiling, smirking. They called me a towel head and the n-word. They tried to associate me with bad people.”

“I was put in charge of supervising an abandoned building. There were mice running around and no running water at times. Lots of times I saw cockroaches. The last six months of my time were pretty crappy,” said Berts. A video shared by Berts with News 10 ABC appeared to confirm the dismal condition of the building he was tasked with guarding.

“It’s definitely new ground,” said Brice Hamack, a civil rights coordinator with CAIR’s northern California office. “Our co-counsel, Alan Reinach, the executive director of Church State Counsel, thinks it’s a strong case and is definitely achievable. Jon approached Alan first and Alan thought to involve CAIR.”

“I think people are really afraid to come forward, so I can only guess that such a situation is more widespread. We’ve only had a few soldiers come forward, often due to fears that their situation could quickly spin out of control,” he added, noting that due to the preliminary state of the lawsuit Berts’ alleged opponents could not be named at this time.

Berts explained that he had originally tried to work within the military system that allowed soldiers to put in complaints to their commanding officer. Berts said that he submitted paperwork. Unfortunately for him he said the paperwork had to go through the person calling him names. He also tried to make his complaint through an “equal opportunity advisor”. This civilian role is supposed “to encourage diversity,” explained Berts. “The person is a civilian outside the chain of command. However, I complained to him about five times regarding my treatment, but each time the paperwork mysteriously disappeared.”

Berts said that in my final evaluation he received a poor report. “People said that I was making a lot of noise and trouble. The final evaluation was more or less the final nail in my active duty career. I was denied reenlistment.” Since then the high-school graduate has been trying to find work and is studying property management.

“Whenever someone comes to us with a claim we want to see some evidence,” said Hamack. “The biggest thing Jonathan showed us was cell phone video of the building he was forced to be in.

Based on the evidence he gave us we felt it was substantial that he had a case. I think if the military thought he was a horrible person then why would he be put in a position of training recruits?”

The former naval officer has no intention of shaving off his beard or otherwise capitulating to bigotry.

“I’ve had two friends that gave their lives in Iraq, and they were Muslims. There are many Muslims who have died. You pray with them, you eat with them. At Friday prayers in Kuwait we’d have 20 to 30 guys. Especially in the last 10 years the military has made an effort to hire Muslims as cultural ambassadors, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq.

“Islam doesn’t equal being a terrorist. Islam is about ordinary people trying to live their lives according to what is correct.

“There are six million Muslims living in America and they are just trying to go about their lives.
“The story of Islam in America goes back hundreds of years. We’re not going anywhere.”

 

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CT Drivers Get Extension on Renewing Licenses


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — In wake of the severe snow storm set to blanket the state, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday announced an order that will allow drivers an extension of renewing thier driver’s licenses.

The governor’s action covers expiration dates and periods of validity for motor vehicle registrations, licenses, permits, certificates and other forms of credentials issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles and runs through Jan. 30.  This also covers emissions test late fees, officials said.

Malloy said that it is understandable that residents may not be able to meet certain DMV-related deadlines and expiration dates if they are impacted by the storm.”

The extension period runs from Jan. 24, when a snow storm shuttered DMV offices, to midnight on Jan. 30.

On Jan. 31, all required late fees and penalties will resume.

The Department of Motor Vehicles also announced today that all knowledge and road skills tests for license applicants are canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday (Jan. 27 and 28) due to storm conditions.

To reschedule a test, residents are asked to visit http://ct.gov/dmv/qsc and enter their personal identification number and then follow the instructions.

 

  • Knowledge Test – Customers should wait for an e-mail from DMV regarding then cancelation, then visit http://ct.gov/dmv/qsc, enter their personal identification number and then follow the instructions.
  • Road Test – Customers should call 860-263-5700 within the Hartford area and those outside the Hartford area can call toll-free at 800-842-8222. DMV will also be contacting customers with appointments.

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Study: Women, Minorities Pay Higher Effective Social Security Rate


By  Paul Kleyman,

Improving retirement security was among the many proposals in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message on Tuesday. But advocates for older Americans say Obama should ask Congress to strengthen the nation’s principal middle-class retirement support – Social Security –especially for women, minorities and low-income workers.

“He could lift or ideally call for the elimination of the Social Security cap on how much income can be taxed,” said Eric Kingson, co-author of the new book, Social Security Works: Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All.

Kingson, a Syracuse University sociologist and leading analyst of Social Security policy, explained that the amount of anyone’s wages subject to the payroll tax this year is limited to the first $118,500. Anything made over and above that amount is not taxed.

Because more of the nation’s earnings have shifted to the richest Americans and wages have stagnated for workers at the bottom, fewer earnings have been taxed to support Social Security.

“That is the major reason we have a projected shortfall in the Social Security trust fund and dramatic increases in inequality over the past 30 years,” Kingson stated.

Millionaires Stop Paying By Valentine’s Day

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows how today’s limit on earnings subject to the Social Security tax actually widens the U.S. wealth gap. While wealth above $118,500 goes untaxed, Social Security goes deeper in debt, leaving those on the lower rungs of the wage scale – women and minorities disproportionately – to take bear the burden of any future cuts in the program.

The CEPR report shows that increasing the amount of taxable earnings above $118,500 – or even “scrapping the cap” entirely, as Kingson and others urge – would not only close or eliminate Social Security’s long-term funding shortage, but would end an effective tax discount that more affluent Americans now receive.

For instance, the CEPR report explains, people who make twice today’s $118,500 limit –or $237,000 per year – “pay the Social Security tax on only half of their earnings, so they no longer pay it after July 1st.” And those who rake in over $1.2 million dollars annually finish their Social Security tax obligation by Feb. 6 – more than a week before Valentine’s Day. In effect, they pay a far smaller Social Security tax rate than those who pay through New Year’s Eve.

“In other words, workers who earn $118,500 or less per year pay a higher Social Security payroll tax rate than those who make more,” say the authors of CEPR’s report, Nicole Woo, Cherrie Bucknor and John Schmitt. They produced the study based on U.S. Census Bureau’s latest (2013) data from the American Community Survey.

CEPR’s economists note that the Social Security Administration’s Chief Actuary analyzed Democratic legislation proposed last year to phase out the income ceiling over five to 10 years. He found that the plan would reduce Social Security’s long-term shortfall by 70-80 percent.

Others in Congress have proposed lifting the cap – not ending it. For instance, recent legislation to increase the amount subject to the Social Security payroll tax to $250,000 is similar to a proposal by former U.S. Senator Barack Obama, during his 2008 presidential campaign. This plan would eliminate about 80 percent of the long-range shortfall, say CEPR’s economists.

Few Latinos, Blacks Earn Enough to Pay More

According to their analysis, just over 9 million U.S. workers (6.1 percent) earn more than the $118,500 taxable limit. (That’s not counting unearned income, such as from stocks.)

Among them are a higher percentage of whites (7.4 percent, or 7.2 million people), and 10 percent of Asian workers (1 million). That compares with only 2.4 percent of Latino taxpayers (381,000), and 2.3 percent of African Americans (383,000).

The racial divide widens, says the study, farther up the wealth ladder. If the Social Security payroll tax tapped up to $400,000, merely 0.2 percent of black and Latino taxpayers would have to pay more, compared with 2 percent of white and Asian earners.

Men pocket the lion’s share of savings in the current system, according to the study. In 2012, 6.9 million U.S. male workers (8.8 percent) made $118,500 or better, versus 2.1 million (3.1 percent) of women.

CEPR’s economists explain that the Social Security trust fund is now large and growing, but it will peak soon at about $2.9 trillion, before being drawn down by the retirement of the huge baby boom generation. Without change, says the report, after 2033 there would only be enough in the program to pay retirees about 75 percent of promised benefits.

The report stresses that fully funding Social Security’s future obligations would cost only an additional 1 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spread over the next 75 years. At its peak – in 2035, when the youngest boomers surpass age 70 – the program’s spending will amount to just over 6 percent of GDP.

Kingson, also cofounder of the advocacy group Social Security Works, noted that while President Obama proposed to help Americans save more to supplement Social Security for a more secure retirement, he also should address the need for greater equity in the program itself.

“He could talk about Social Security as an instrument of justice and decency that is fully affordable as our economy continues to grow,” Kingson said.

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Two Men Charged for Windsor Bank Robbery


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

WINDSOR — Two Greater Hartford area men were arrested for stealing more than &80,000 at First Niagara Bank in Windsor.

David Johnson, 27, of Enfield and Odain Johnson, 21, of Hartford were charged with armed robbery

According to police reports, the two men wearing masks went into First Niagara at 2133 Poquonock Ave on Jan. 10 at about 9: 15 a.m.

The two men vaulted the teller counter, directed two bank employees to the bank vault and ordered one of the employees to open the vault.  Once inside the vault, the men ordered the bank employees to the ground and took $81,530 from the vault.  The men also ordered bank employees to open teller drawers and proceeded to take an additional amount of money from the drawers.

The complaint also alleges that a customer walked into the bank during the robbery.  One of the masked men pointed a gun at the customer, ordered him to the ground and told him not to look up.  After exiting the bank, the men confronted a second customer who was about to enter the bank.  One of the men pointed a gun at the customer and stated “If you say anything, we’ll shoot you….”

Police said they also  found and seized other items allegedly used during the robbery earlier that day, as well as a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun with a fully-loaded magazine.

Both men are currently in state custody.

 

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In State of the Union, Obama Calls on GOP to Help Middle Class


By Dorothy Rowley, Washington Informer

In his sixth State of the Union address, President Obama challenged the GOP-majority Congress Tuesday night to break from the “tired old patterns” of argumentative politics to uplift the middle class with more trade deals and higher taxes for the rich.

Obama proposed a $320 billion economic plan that would raise taxes on upper-class families and big banks to ultimately provide expanded tax breaks for the middle class. The plan would also fund new federal programs such as government-paid tuition for community college students.

“America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back, for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: the shadow of crisis has passed, and the state of the union is strong,” said Obama, for whom the latest polls indicate an approval rating of 50 percent, compared to 53 percent of Americans who say the economy — with lower unemployment and cheaper gas prices that have saved the typical family about $750 this year at the pumps — has definitely improved over the year.

The president trumpeted the revived economy and decreasing unemployment rates, but said the gains can’t end there.

“We are fifteen years into this new century,” Obama said at the beginning of his 40-minute speech. “After a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.”

The president vowed to forge ahead despite almost-certain opposition from the Republican-led Congress.

“The verdict is clear: middle-class economics works,” he said. “Expanding opportunity works. These policies will continue to work — as long as politics don’t get in the way.”

Obama also said he will go to Congress for a new authorization of military force against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

The president said the effort against the terrorist organization, which rose to prominence in the past year, will be time-consuming but imperative.

“But we will succeed,” he said. “And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force.”

Obama touched upon the end of military combat in Afghanistan, saying that while for the first time since 9/11, the United States’s warfare mission there is over. Of the nearly 180,000 American troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, fewer than 15,000 soldiers remain in deployment.

Obama addressed a number of issues, including establishing worker protections, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for citizens in need.

“We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet – tools they needed to go as far as their effort will take them,” he said. “That’s what middle-class economics is — the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”

On the matter of ensuring other necessities such as paid sick leave and maternity leave, Obama noted that some 43 million workers lack such benefits, and that as a result, he will take action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own.

Obama also championed higher wages to help more families make ends meet, while urging Congress to pass a law that will enable women to earn the same pay as men for doing the same work.

“To everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it,” he said to resounding applause. “If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.”

Turning his focus to education, Obama noted that by the end of the decade, two in three job openings will require some form of higher education, and that too many citizens cannot afford the kind of education they want.

“It’s not fair to them, and it’s not smart for our future. That’s why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college — to zero,” he said of his recent initiative to make two-year college degrees available to students willing to put forth the effort.

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Hartford Mayor Announces ‘Open Budget’


HARTFORD — In anticipation of the upcoming budget season, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra on Wednesday announced the launch of “Open Budget,” an interactive website that allows users to examine the City’s operating budget, spending data, capital improvement projects and Board of Education funds.

The new web-based app presents the city’s operating and capital improvements budget using simple bar graphs, charts and maps.

Detailed breakdowns of expenses become available as users click on different City departments or capital improvement projects. The tool is designed to further increase transparency and engage more residents in the budget process, city officials said.

“Developing the City’s budget is a complex intense process for city staff and the volume of information can be overwhelming to the general public,”  Mayor Segarra said. “It’s been an on-going process to try and make city information as accessible and easy to understand as possible. The benefits of Open Budget are twofold.

The site provides updated information in a simple format so residents and anyone interested in the budget are better informed about what investments the city is making in its future. It also helps the city internally by expediting the sharing of budget information between departments.” As of now, Open Budget offers data going back from FY 2012 to the current fiscal year.

The site will be updated with the FY 2016 budget once it is adopted. The homepage also features a map of most capital improvement projects from FY 2014 through FY2015.

Per city charter, Segarra is expected to deliver his recommended budget for FY 2016 to the City Council in April. The City Council then issues its own recommendations and a new budget will be adopted by May 31. The mayor will host several community dialogues around the development of his FY 2016 recommended budget.

See budget here.

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A Small Business Solution to Shrinking Workforce–Hire Seniors


They caution small businesses against ignoring one source of potential employees: older Americans.

Older Americans

Millions of seniors who have retired or are approaching retirement from lengthy careers still need to work to maintain their families and lifestyles. Others crave the social interaction and sense of purpose employment delivers.

Peter Cappelli, professor of management and the director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said increased life expectancy and the maturing of the largest generation in American history—-the Baby Boomers—- will account for increased numbers of older Americans in the workplace. Cappelli, the co-author of Managing The Older Worker, (Harvard Business Review Press, 2010) said today’s seniors are staying older longer. 

“If we think of old age as a period when people are no longer able to work, that group is shrinking,” he said. “Today’s seniors don’t want to just sit around. They want to work and they have a lot to offer. This trend is not going away.”

He said that small businesses should consider hiring seniors for a variety of reasons validated by research. “They don’t need much training. Business owners don’t have to worry about their conscientiousness and they’re less likely to switch jobs,” he explained.

He said studies confirm that seniors score higher on reliability and interpersonal skills and experience lower rates of tardiness and absenteeism. And he said research dispels several myths: that seniors incur higher healthcare costs and are more prone to accidents. “Because they are older, don’t have babies anymore and have fewer dependents, they have lower healthcare costs. Besides, most are on Medicare.”

And Cappelli said seniors also suffer fewer safety incidents because they are more careful.

Greg O’Neill, director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Academy on an Aging Society, said research lags behind on some trends surrounding the employment of seniors.

“We know anecdotally that turnover is lower among senior workers and that some jobs are performed better by people with experience,” O’Neill said. He pointed out that changing ergonomics in workplace and to accommodate older workers has shown increases in production.

“Someone transitioning out working with new engineers and sharing knowledge can be very effective,” he said. Most companies don’t think about all the knowledge walking out their doors. But they should.”

Experience

O’Neill said that one of the benefits of older age is that people move into positions using crystalized versus fluid intelligence. “That’s code for experience,” he said. 

He added that small businesses can benefit from hiring seniors in customer contact positions. “People don’t get as angry at older people,” he said. “They’re less likely to shoplift around them.” And in sectors like financial services, he pointed out, high wealth clients are more likely to trust someone with experience closer to their age.

Ken Rone, 65, a retired vice president of manufacturing who lives in Vancouver, Wash., said he’s hired and worked with hundreds of older employees in his nearly 40 years in industry. Rone said a 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report found the median tenure of all U.S. employees is 4.6 years. He noted that employee tenure was generally higher among older workers than younger ones, with the median tenure of workers ages 55 to 64 (10.4 years) more than triple that of workers ages 25 to 34 years (3.0 years).

So senior workers are more likely to stay longer and not jump ship as quickly. 

In addition, Rone noted that seniors have longer track records for prospective employers to review. He said it’s easier to check references and the document trail for older employees is more robust. Small businesses can reference previous employers and contact more colleagues to gain a better view of senior employees in the interview process than their younger counterparts. And older employees know what it required to be a viable, stable employee.

He continued, “They’ve seen the slackers and unreliable employees and understand what to avoid and how to succeed: Be neat, respectful, don’t gossip, keep your nose to the ground and do the job.”
Michael Sarka, 70, agreed. He is a retired small businessman and now a counselor in Santa Cruz, Calif., for the national nonprofit SCORE, which helps small business. Sarka works for a small business tourism attraction, the Roaring Camp Railroad, in nearby Felton. The railroad is a steam engine that takes tourists into the mountains and to the beach.

“We find we have very good and reliable older employees who show up early, get the task done and exceed our employer’s expectations.”

Sarka, who grew up on a farm, said most seniors were raised with a strong work ethic. “I think that’s something that benefits our company and most of all, the consumer, because we’ve lived in this community and are knowledgeable about what’ going on and are able to communicate that to the tourists who visit us.”

He owned a small tourism consulting company with his wife and previously launched an outdoors adventure firm, hiring many seniors. He said older employees bring patience to their jobs. “They take the time to listen and act on what they’ve heard,” he explained. “That makes a strong connection to customers.”

Ann Fishman, president of Generational Targeted Marketing, consults with companies on issues of aging. Fishman advised small business owners against calling older Americans “seniors.”

“Call them experienced people. They like to think of themselves in the prime of lives,” Fishman said. “Baby Boomers in particular need the money. Many have not saved appropriately for retirement and some may have to work till the day they die. Though they may need the work, they appreciate flexibility. That gives them the freedom they want and some extra money.”

A Mix

Fishman said many younger people have lost the ability to read facial and word cues. “They’ve been looking at screens and not people’s’ faces,” she said. “But Baby Boomers are really good at reading facial expressions and vocal cues. They’re really good at listening. The best thing is when you can achieve a generational mix. Young people usually have stronger technology skills and Baby Boomers have strong people skills, crave social interaction and are very work-oriented.”

Laura Bos, manager of education and outreach and financial security for the advocacy organization, AARP, said many AARP members are still working, want to work and may even need to work.
“So they want to remain in the work force and we think they are a great asset for employers large and small,” Bos said. “Older workers have a certain level of maturity, and especially with companies needing strong customer service, they tend to be ranked and valued highly. They bring professionalism and great work ethic and are often lauded for critical thinking and problem solving skills.”

Bos said that older workers tend to have higher levels of engagement—-emotional and intellectual involvement with their company—- and are motivated to do their best work. 

“You could say they’re more loyal and involved with their company and invested in wanting their company to do well, which can lead to less turnover,” she said. “And turnover costs employers money.”

This story was produced with support from the Journalism in Aging Fellowship Program of the Gerontological Society of America and New America Media and was sponsored by the John A. Hartford Foundation. Yahoo Small Business/New America Media 

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Report: Dysfunction in Registrars Office


By Ann-Marie Mesquita, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The Registrar of Voters Officer is a study in incompetence and dysfunction, according to a report released on Friday by the City Council Committee of Inquiry.

In November, Mayor Pedro Segarra formed the committee after Hartford voters showed up at polls at 6 a.m. and found that those polls were closed. As a result, the final vote for the Nov. 4 Election Day remains unclear.

The report also concludes that the Registrar of Voters failed to provide the Secretary of State with information about the polling place moderators, failed to timely prepare and deliver the final registry books by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, failed to develop or implement a plan for delivering the books to the polling places before 6 a.m., failed to adequately prepare and open several poling places and to identify and correct discrepancies in the vote tallies reported by the head moderator. 

The committee’s finding also shows that many of the problems on election day were because of errors or ommissions by certain Hartford election officials and a dysfunctional working relationhsip among all election officials.

Segarra said the report is clear on one thing: the registrars were unprepared to perform their duties.

“It is ridiculous and inexcusable. This is not the first time this office has demonstrated incompetence and dysfunction,” he said. “It is unacceptable that our citizens’ rights to vote was compromised.”

City Council President Shawn Wooden agreed.

“Clearly this is unacceptable,” he said. The total inadequacy of theprparation going into the election, theleavel of dysfunction, the inability of those involved in administering the election to work in a professional and competent manner, the seeming indifference to getting it right, is outrageous.”

As a part of the investigation, the committee reviews more than 10,000 documents and conducted numerous interviews. The committee then took formal testimoney during two days of publica hears on Dec. 22 and 23, 2014.

A detailed report of the committee’s findings is at hartford.gov.

 

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