Two hours before the city council planned to start removal hearings for Hartford’s three registrars of voters, a Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that it doesn’t have the power to oust the elected officials. Judge Constance Epstein said that the council can’t take any further steps to remove the registrars — Democrat Olga Vazquez and Republican Sheila Hall — from office. The third registrar, Working Families Party member Urania Petit, had also filed for an injunction to stop the removal hearings but withdrew her case before the ruling Tuesday. She submitted her resignation Tuesday morning, council members said, after reaching a settlement with the city.
Council members did not disclose the settlement amount, but sources with knowledge of the situation said that Petit would be paid $50,000. The agreement must still be approved by the city council.
“This is a victory, not only for Registrar Vazquez, but also a victory for all of the voters that voted for her,” Richard Padykula, one of her attorneys, said Tuesday. “We’re incredibly pleased with the well-reasoned decision by the court.”