Segarra and Adamowski, the Remix

Last month’s controversy between Mayor Pedro Segarra and the city’s board of education over the selection of a schools superintendent has largely blown over.

But another issue at play at the time was Segarra’s relationship with School Superintendent Steven Adamowski.  Segarra questioned the school board’s awarding of roughly $2.7 million in bonuses and wrote Adamowski a letter.  Adamowski never wrote a formal reply, responding instead through the press, and that ticked Segarra off good.

Now, a release of emails between Adamowski and his communications director David Medina shed a little light as it opens a small window into the communications strategy of the Hartford Public Schools.

Specifically, the emails show that:

1) Adamowski’s lack of a formal response was intentional;

2) That Medina advised Adamowski to address a letter to Segarra “in the form of a return letter,” but Adamowski declined;

3) That Medina advised Adamowski not to be “confrontational with the mayor at this time”;

4) That Medina advised Adamowski to “show some sympathy for the position he’s facing budgetarily.  Stroke him a little.”;

5)  And that Medina counseled Adamowski that Segarra was “just looking to save face.  I don’ t think he’s our enemy YET.”

The emails also show that Adamowski did in fact write Segarra an email, expressing his hope that the two could, in the future, talk first before sending letters.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Segarra and Adamowski, the Remix

  1. peter brush

    Thank you very much. This is the first I’ve seen of the Adamowski press release (open letter to Segarra from Medina). I don’t understand why the press release lingo was not quoted directly in reports on the controversy? With that statement of Feb. 4 in hand it is impossible to avoid concluding that the Mayor was in error, and should have addressed Adamowski directly before going to a press microphone.
    Whether bureaucrats like Medina or Roldan should get bonuses is, perhaps, open to question, but in general the bonuses were apparently rational. That is, if they were “inappropriate,” as the Mayor suggested, it was not because they failed to relate to a deliberate and objective policy by the District; a policy which is maintained in the pending 3 year teacher contract. It is difficult to understand how this matter became a controversy, but even though the thing was pointless it did reveal a good bit about many of our local pols.

    • Hi Peter. Thanks for commenting.

      Just as an FYI, the press release was mentioned in this story (http://yourpublicmedia.org/content/wnpr/segarra-school-bonuses-could-be-inappropriate), and was again mentioned (and linked to) in this post (https://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/hartford-schools-dont-give-mayor-an-answer-on-bonuses/).

      Jeff

      • peter brush

        Thanks, again, Jeff. I hadn’t seen the link in your Feb. 20 post. It’s an odd post, though, as it comes under the headline “Hartford schools don’t give mayor an Answer.” While the press release makes clear that the Mayor had gotten an answer, the Mayor (and a flock of other pols) pretended he had not. While your headline suggests controversy, the body of your post acknowledges that the Mayor’s office was making a (willful) mistake. (“Maybe someone should let Segarra’s chief of staff know.”) After the press release there should have been no controversy, no suggestion by the Mayor that there was a lack of “transparency.” But, his Chief of Staff couldn’t drop it. (“No, and the lack of a response is deeply disappointing.”) The Mayor and the other pols who piled on misplayed this one very badly.
        But, I sure wouldn’t mind if the Mayor would please ask for a comparable press release from the Super on the matter of the pending three year teacher contract.

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