New City Manager Will Help Hartford Get Back On Track

New Year's DayPedro E. Segarra

The decision by Saundra Kee Borges to withdraw from consideration as Hartford's chief operating officer offers Mayor Pedro Segarra a chance to move the management of the city in a new direction. He would be wise to do so.

After serving as interim COO for several months, Ms. Kee Borges was named to the post in March, subject to city council approval. She said she "thought long and hard" about her decision, announced Monday, not to seek council approval; if so, she wasted her time because the votes weren't there.

That's because many council members aren't happy with how the city is being run, seeing it as lax, among other things. For example, the recent audit of the city credit cards found oversight of the program lacking. One of the most flagrant charges involved a lavish New Year's Eve dinner attended by Mr. Segarra and Ms. Kee Borges. The cost of the meal was eventually reimbursed to the city.

Ms. Kee Borges had been a curious choice. A lawyer and former deputy corporation counsel, she served — without particular distinction — as city manager from 1993 to 2002. Mr. Segarra, friends with Ms. Kee Borges since law school, brought her back to city government in 2010 as corporation counsel and moved her to interim COO last fall.

Ms. Kee Borges is gracious, smart and probably a good lawyer, but she is not a trained city manager, as was evident from her first go-round. That the council was poised to reject her sends a clear message to Mr. Segarra. He needs a pro, not a pal. He needs a professional city manager who will stand up to him, someone he's not necessarily comfortable with — more "Team of Rivals" than "My Best Friend."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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