Hartford Councilor Seeks Audit Of City Vehicle Usage

City council President Shawn Wooden has asked the Hartford Internal Audit Commission to review the policies, procedures and assignments surrounding the usage of city vehicles, following reports that Mayor Pedro Segarra's former chief of staff was in possession of a city-issued Ford Explorer two weeks after he left his job.

In a letter to the commission dated Thursday, Wooden requested that the audit be completed by Sept. 30.

"It is crucial that the city council have a much better understanding of how city vehicles are utilized," Wooden wrote in the letter. "In addition to evaluating the system for assigning and securing vehicles, please include an accounting of all city vehicles by department and individual, and whether these vehicles are driven only during work hours or taken home at the end of the day."

Segarra's former chief of staff, Jared Kupiec, is under investigation by the Hartford Police Department's internal affairs division for using a city vehicle after he left his post on June 21.

Kupiec's possession of the vehicle came to the attention of Hartford police July 8 as they investigated several car break-ins along Capitol Avenue near Main Street. Kupiec lives at 17 Capitol Ave.

An officer noticed the break-ins and determined that one of the cars broken into was registered to the city, Lt. Brian Foley, head of the department's major crimes division, has said.

The mayor's office said Kupiec was using the city vehicle "after the conclusion of his employment with the city of Hartford without authorization." Kupiec, 30, received 2 ½ weeks' severance pay after his departure. His salary was $115,000 a year.

"I believe it is critically important to understand how this happened and how to make sure that operational procedures are in place to make sure that this does not happen in the future," Wooden wrote in his letter, referring to the Kupiec incident.

The audit commission is expected to take up the matter at its next regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday.