HARTFORD — A state representative has drawn attention to Mayor Pedro Segarra’s recent offer to pad two retired politicians’ pension.
In a recent press release, state Rep. Kelvin Roldán (D-Hartford) announced that he intended to introduce legislation to prevent municipal contractors from giving expensive gifts to town officials and prevent politicians from padding their pensions while in office.
The first piece of legislation, Roldan states in the release, will prevent town and board of education officials from receiving anything of value exceeding $100 in a calendar year from a municipal contractor, prospective contractor or individual with matters before a planning and zoning commission.
Towns with a functioning ethics commission may set a lower gift threshold. The second piece of legislation will prevent local town councils from using taxpayer funds to enhance the pensions of elected officials during their terms in office, as has been the practice of the General Assembly.
The pension padding ban is in response to pension enhancement offered this year by the administration of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra which will allow two elected city officials, including a city councilwoman arrested in a corruption investigation, to retire during their terms in office with pension enhancements that will cost city taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
“It is stunning that in these difficult financial times that a city administration would make it a priority to pad the pensions of elected politicians with tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars while residents are faced with the potential for drastic cuts in city services and increased taxes. Elected officials must put the needs of the people they serve before the financial well being of their fellow politicians.” Roldán stated.
The gift ban legislation is in response to scandals in Hartford, Shelton and other communities where developers and municipal contractors have provided expensive gifts to municipal officials.
“There is no uniform rule across the state on how to deal with gifts from contractors to municipal officials that control hundreds of millions of dollars in local contracts. The fact is that expensive gifts from contractors to municipal officials can create the appearance of undue influence in awarding bids or rendering decisions. After years of debating this issue, the State of Connecticut needs to set unambiguous bright line that will provide clear guidance to local officials and the public about the acceptable standards for behavior in this area,” Roldán said.