Hartford re-hires former city attorney as consultant with higher pay

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HARTFORD--Former Hartford acting chief operating officer and corporation counsel, Saundra Kee-Borges, has been rehired to represent the city as a consulting attorney after her recent resignation.

Kee-Borges actually signed a contract with the city on Saturday, January 31, the final day of her tenure. It stipulates her pay will be $250 per hour to finish work she has started on the Downtown North project, revisions to Hartford Municipal Code and other matters assigned by corporation counsel.

The agreement was signed by current acting Corporation Counsel Henri Alexandre.

In response to criticism, Mayor Pedro Segarra’s director of communications, Maribel La Luz, issued a statement:

We needed to keep Sandy on to complete critical and time-sensitive work on DoNo contracts and negotiations, which were on going during the time of separation. She is scheduled for a payment of just over $17,000 for hours of work between Feb 1 and March 6, 2015. The projects have been substantially completed and we don’t expect any further services beyond March 31.

Questions remain about why Kee-Borges would be hired at a higher rate that her previous salary, and whether someone else could have handled the work once she resigned.

"It just seems strange to me to have a city employee hired back to get paid more money for working less time than when she was a full time employee," said Hartford Mayoral candidate Luke Bronin.

Kee-Borges would not agree to an on-camera interview but did speak by phone:

I can appreciate that people have questions and I would hope that when the story is reported, that this was not expected, this was not an attempt to do anything underhanded except just to get the job done... the mayor asked me to finish baseball. Initially when I announced that I was leaving, we were expected to have completed everything by January 15th. That didn't happen... and so I was asked to stay around and finish."

Hartford mayoral candidate, John Gale, also weighed in on the issue.

"Now we have somebody who had retired once from the city, was then brought back by Mayor Segarra, and so now she's on our payroll, sort of double-dipping if you will and here comes yet another contract. So this is now her third shot at the public trough," said Gale.

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