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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IF THE COUNCIL WON'T DO IT, THE FEDS WILL

Reading the headline you are probably thinking it refers to investigating corruption at City Hall, but no, I am referring to obtaining funding for the Hartford Police Department. The money from a US Justice Department grant announced this week, $3.6 million, will be used to hire an additional 15 officers

Hartford is the only municipality in Connecticut to receive any funding under the program and received one of the highest amounts awarded nationwide.

Don't expect to see the officers on the streets anytime soon though. The City still has positions from a 2012 grant that have never been filled , despite the City's urgent need to fill vacant positions. HPD's staffing levels are currently the lowest they have been in years and dropping quickly due to attrition and retirements

MORE ON THE INCOMPETENT PEDRO

This just keeps getting worse and worse, but the bottom line is it all comes back to Hartford's incompetent Mayor, Pedro Segarra The latest brush up has been exposed in an e-mail from Councilman David McDonald to the Internal Audit Commission. McDonald is requesting the IAC look into procedures in the Finance Department, specifically the Tax Collector's Office.

According to McDonald' request, over $127,000,000, yes that is $127 million dollars is sitting in the Tax Collectors Office and hasn't apparently been deposited in the bank since July. Besides being extremely risky from a security aspect, it also seems to be an extremely poor financial practice. How much interest alone is lost when that money lays in City Hall rather than in a bank account?

The e-mails below pretty much lay it out clearly, but it should make anyone question if there are any sound business practices in effect at Hartford City Hall .The answer appears to be a solid NO!

In a message dated 10/1/2014 12:57:38 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, MACDD001@hartford.gov writes:
Greetings,

This is very troubling. Especially given our budget challenges. I am requesting that the Internal Audit Commission perform an audit of the Reconciliation of Tax Receipts and related processes.

David MacDonald
Councilman. The ltest
 

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 30, 2014, at 3:11 PM, "Cloud, Adam" <CLOUA001@hartford.gov> wrote:

> Ms. Ralls,
> Thank you for your prompt response, however I would like to clarify a few matters:
>
>  1.  No communication was ever made to this office regarding the time frame associated with resolving these issues by the end of September. Also, it has come to our attention that the batches will be posted back to the months that the deposits were incurred. This is contrary to what was stated in your e-mail from this morning.  Please provide clarification as to when the batches will be posted and why was the decision made not to post to September.
>  2.  Although sending staff is appreciated, what we request is to have the attachments to the tax batches be explicit in the their descriptions. Our challenge isn’t with the work load, we are very capable of executing our responsibilities.   Rather, our ability to discern what deposits at the bank tie to the batches that are being posted is at issue .  Instead of sending the accountants to us, I would recommend that you send them to the Tax Office to provide them with assistance.
>  3.  Although you may believe that this issue will not have a negative impact on our audit, it does not change the fact that significant City revenue has not been reported on our general ledger and as such, doesn’t present the accurate condition of our financials.
>
> Regards,
>
> Hon. Adam M. Cloud
> Treasurer
> City of Hartford
>
>
> From: "Ralls, Leigh Ann" <RALLL001@hartford.gov>>
> Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:28:46 -0400
> To: Treasurer Cloud <
cloua001@hartford.gov>>
> Cc: "Hill, Darrell" <
Darrell.Hill@hartford.gov>>, Shawn Wooden <stwooden@daypitney.com>>
> Subject: RE: Reconciliation of Tax receipts
>
> Treasurer,
>
> Thank you for your email and I recognize and understand your concern.  I would like to let you know that the following corrective measures are in progress to address this issue.
>
> Since assuming the Acting Finance Director role last week, I met with the Tax Collector twice regarding these outstanding tax deposits and we have status meetings set up throughout this week.  The tax office will have these receipts reconciled in Munis by the close of September’s books.  This timeframe has been communicated to your staff.  The tax office has been short staffed and have just come out of their busy collection season.   Also, the office has recently filled a crucial role of junior accountant.  This junior accountant’s primary training has been on reconciling these receipts.  These reconciliations are also a major part of his daily responsibilities going forward.  I apologize for the inconvenience this has placed on your staff.  I am more than willing to send one or two of the accountants from Accounting and Control to your office to help your staff reconcile these deposits which will help relieve the burden that this places on their day to day responsibilities.
>
> As far as the auditors, I do not believe there will be a negative impact on our audit.  These deposits are recorded in the QDS system which is the system of record for tax and all of the money has been deposited at the bank.  According to discussions I have had with the auditors during implementation of QDS, the frequency to which we bridge over these transactions is our decision.
>
> Please let me know who I should coordinate scheduling with on your staff to assist with the reconciliations.
>
> Leigh Ann
>
>
>
>
> From: Cloud, Adam
> Sent: Monday, September 29, 2014 5:19 PM
> To: Ralls, Leigh Ann
> Cc: Hill, Darrell; Shawn T. Wooden
> Subject: Reconciliation of Tax receipts
>
> Leigh Ann,
> I am writing to express my concern over the delay in the reconciliation of the tax receipts for both the pooled cash account and the fast pay program.  As you are aware, my office has on numerous occasions  informed both finance and the tax department to no avail about the failure to properly post these entries.  This failure has an immediate and significant impact on how my office does its job in that we are charged with reconciling these accounts and rather than being able to process these transaction we are literally at a stand still.  Further, it will be an undue burden for my staff to have to dedicate its time and resources to reconcile these accounts all at once simply because the tax office has failed to do its job.  In addition, this delay  will have a negative impact on our audit.  The fact that we have $127m of deposits not journaled since July is unacceptable and most certainly will be a matter that will be raised in the management letter from our auditors.
>
> Therefore, I formally request that the finance department respond to this concern immediately so as to not place any further burden on my staff and to avoid any future consequences resulting from the upcoming audit.
>
> For your benefit and review below is the outstanding bank entries on Pool Cash for Tax that have not been brought into MUNIS for July and August 2014.  It is a total of $117,312,021.96.

Monday, September 29, 2014

MORE VOO-DOO ACCOUNTING AT HARTFORD CITY HALL

Once again, another Internal Audit shows that the Segarra Administration will do whatever it wants and the rules just don't apply


Paying invoices before the contracts are even signed? Something stinks. Where is the Department of Justice ?

Friday, September 26, 2014

AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN

The Hartford Police Department is currently being devastated by the high number of retirements.

Some of the retirements are good , some not so good as much of the valuable talent is being lost from all ranks and positions.

One of the retirements I find very troubling is the loss of LT. Lance Sigersmith. Most of you probably won't even recognize the name. Lance is a Hartford Police Officer that has served in just about every division and position at HPD. I don't think I have ever heard his name mentioned in a negative light, never a discipline problem,, but he has served the people of Hartford with dignity and integrity throughout his 20 year career.

Lance has served the last several years as the Supervisor of the Shooting Task Force and the Intelligence Division. Prior to that he was commander of the Major Crimes Division for several years and prior to that in Vice and Narcotics. Lance has been a mentor to many officers as they have risen through the ranks at HPD.

It is interesting to me to note that I have never heard anyone make a negative comment regarding Lance when I have mentioned his name. That is highly unusual and shows the regard his fellow officers hold him in.

Lance has a keen sense of "flying under the radar" in what to many others would be high profile assignments. His tenure as Commander of the Shooting Task Force has gone unnoticed by most, but has resulted in the high level of effectiveness due to his management and use of his resources to continue to take guns off Hartford's streets in record numbers. Sigersmith has built and nurtured a team that is highly effective under his leadership.

I first met Sigersmith almost 20 years ago when he was police officer on the street in the old "Street Crimes Unit". Since then I have watched his rise through the ranks and I find it troublesome that there is no plan to keep great officers like him in Hartford's ranks.

LT Sigersmith is a great asset to HPD and is a great father and family man.  Best of luck in your retirement, you will be missed.

Lance Sigersmith will be retiring as of October 3, 2014

DEPUTY CHIEF FORD IAD INVESTIGATION COMPLETE

On the orders of Hartford Police Chief James Rovella, an "I-FILE " a form of Internal Affairs Investigation was conducted into the behavior of Deputy Chief Rob Ford after complaints of racist comments were made by Ford, directed at an Italian officer and his family.

But as happens in many cases, you may be looking for one thing and end up uncovering something else. In the report below, there are disturbing comments made by Ford in regards to a possible rumored relationship between  Ford and a female subordinate where he(Ford) raised the issue of the female officer whether she was "sucking his d**k" or whether he was "f**cking her" as was rumored in the unit. Ford admits  in the report as to using that language. Ford claims the language used was an effort to stop the gossiping, but  it leaves him and the City extremely vulnerable to a sexual harassment claim  and is totally inappropriate for a Deputy Chief to use in front of his subordinates.

You can read the entire report for yourselves below and form your own opinion. The IAD Investigator substantiated a violation of HPD's code of conduct as a result of the complaint.

This may only be the start as there may be other code of conduct violations on the horizon for Ford after his handling  (or not handling) an  alleged assault at a recent meeting of the Greater Hartford African American Alliance meeting.

Discipline for Ford should be determined in the near future after the report is reviewed by the Departments Advoctae and ultimately reviewed by Chief Rovella

HARTFORD POLICE TASER REVIEW COMPLETE

It seems that there was a quick rush to judgment after a Hartford Police Officer tasered a young black man after the suspect was involved in a melee in front of a Hartford police Officer. It seems that many, including Governor Malloy, formed immediate opinions after a 10 second video clip surfaced depicting the incident. Malloy stated publicly that he was "sickened" after viewing the clip.

The video gave all of us the opportunity to sit back and be the Monday morning quarterbacks able to hit play and rewind to our hearts content until we formed an opinion of the incident. Easy for us, but unfortunately police officers don't have the same luxury to wait and form those same opinions. They are required to make split second decisions, hopefully they make the right decision, but they are human and it doesn't always work out that way.

In the taser incident, in which details seem to be laid out more clearly in the IAD report, there is a lot more going on than a single video clip may portray.

One of the most important being the details as to what precipitated the apparent need for Detective Ware to actually take out his taser and prepare himself to use it. It wasn't a young man conducting himself in an orderly manner on a City street.

It is also interesting to note that "somehow" the entire incident had been erased from the DVR hardrive before police had a chance to review the entire video to see all of the details of the incident and not just the 10 seconds that made it to the news.

It was a young man instead, depicted by St Francis Medical Center Staff in the IAD report as being high on PCP. So high that he actually had to be sedated to keep him from injuring medical staff after his arrival at the hospital. (detailed on page 9)

The IAD report provides some very interesting details and can be read below.

The IAD report was obtained pursuant to an FOI request to HPD