The Hartford Courant
5:44 PM EDT, September 11, 2013
It's bad enough that (now former) Hartford deputy public works director Rhonda Moniz-Carroll was charged with drunken driving over the weekend. Adding insult to injury, she was driving a city vehicle.
According to the police report, Ms. Moniz-Carroll was driving south on Prospect Avenue Saturday night when she crossed the center line and plowed into an oncoming car. When police got to her, they found Ms. Moniz-Carroll "lethargic and abnormally relaxed," with "red, glossy eyes," "thick, slurred speech" and "an overwhelming odor of alcoholic beverage" on her breath, the report says.
There was still time for more bad decisions. She denied drinking alcohol before driving, a claim the police found blatantly untruthful. She later said she had a glass of wine at 11 a.m., more than 10 hours before the accident. She also attempted to invoke the name of a high-ranking police officer, a common tactic that invariably fails, and then demanded of the officers, "Do you know who I am?"
Please. You just totaled another driver's car and sent her to the hospital with multiple injuries, and you want a free pass because you're a big shot? Bad form.
Both cars were totaled, including the city-issued Ford Escape Ms. Moniz-Carroll was driving. As this page now asks for the sixth time this year, why is the financially strapped city of Hartford giving 59 employees take-home cars? This is a needless expense that can be replaced by having most workers drive their own cars and bill the city for mileage reimbursement when on city business.
Mayor Pedro Segarra acted quickly when he fired Ms. Moniz-Carroll on Monday, but he has not shown the same sense of urgency on the take-home cars. That despite the fact that his former chief of staff, Jared Kupiec, was charged in July with continuing to use his city vehicle after he left the city's employ. If he hadn't been issued a city car, for which he had no pressing need, there wouldn't have been a problem. He was granted a special form of probation.
The city council, however, has taken up the car issue and is considering a proposal to limit take-home cars to a handful of top officials, as some other cities have done. It can't pass soon enough.
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