HARTFORD — Mayor Eddie Perez is still in control, according to one resident and longtime critic Hyacinth Yennie.
That’s because he has yet to send an official letter of resignation to the city council, even though many of his detractors clamor an end to his leadership after a six-member jury found Perez guilty of five felony charges: bribe receiving, attempted first-degree larceny by extortion, accessory to evidence tampering and two conspiracy counts. He was acquitted of tampering with evidence.
A few residents on Monday attended a public hearing at city hall, expecting a definitive signal of “a new day” for the city. But seeing none, the conversation then centered on whether the city council would have seven votes to impeach the mayor.
With no formal communication with the city council, the city’s leadership is left in limbo.
“In the interest of the people, the city council needs to act fast,” said mayoral candidate Stan McCaulay. “The city is in limbo because politicians are looking out for their best interest.”
Councilman Matt Ritter joined the chorus of residents who want swift action.
“There’s no middle. It’s either he’s mayor or he’s not,” Ritter said after the hearing.
Ritter also said he expects there will be seven votes to impeach the mayor if there’s no official announcement. This process would take at least a month.
At least seven council members signed a statement on Friday announcing plans “to act” if Perez fails to communicate by Monday. Absent were Calixto Torres and Veronica Airey-Wilson.
Shortly afterward, the mayor’s communication director on Friday sent out an email announcing the mayor’s plan to “relinquish” his duties.
“I’ve decided that it is not in the best interest of the city and my family for me to continue my duties as Mayor during the appeal of my case,” Perez said in the email. “I will formally notify the City Council shortly of my decision to relinquish my duties.”
If the mayor decides not to resign an impeachment process could consume the summer months. But that seems unlikely because the mayor has been communicating with Council President Pedro Segarra about how the process will unfold in the upcoming days, said Councilman Jim Boucher.
“We anticipate communication that will lead us to the final steps,” Boucher said.