We got some explanation from the city this week on the raise for Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.
Here’s the skinny. Two things govern.
First, there’s the state constitution – which spells out just when and how the mayor (and other elected officials) can get raises. Second, there’s the city charter — which sets the mayor’s salary at the same level of that of a state superior court judge. Put the two together and it’s a pretty complicated mess. But here’s how it all plays out when it comes to Segarra.
In the budget for the year ending June 30, 2010, the salary of then Mayor Eddie Perez was technically increased from about $139,000 to about $147,000, the latter being the judge’s salary. But, according to page 8-1 of the budget, Perez apparently decided to “turn back the value of the increase.” That is, he didn’t take the raise. (Given his legal troubles, the timing might have made a raise politically unpalatable.)
Perez left office in late June 2010, and Segarra took his place. When he did, he, too, was paid the roughly $139,000 salary. In an email, Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec said that Segarra became aware of the pay discrepancy in the budget process of 2011, but “the mayor decided it was best to not take any action until after the November election, when he was overwhelmingly elected to his own term.”
Then, in January of this year, Segarra increased his pay to that of a judge — the level already approved in prior budgets.
In related commentary, here’s the Courant’s editorial on the raises Segarra gave himself and others at city hall.