On October 19, 2017, the City of Hartford hosted two free community forums, supported by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, that focused on questions and concerns about the city potentially declaring bankruptcy. These forums, moderated by Jay Williams, President of the Hartford Foundation, featured three panelists who had firsthand knowledge of engaging in the process of municipal bankruptcy and helped to inform and engage local stakeholders on the process of municipal bankruptcy and its potential impact on the community.
The panel featured Kevyn Orr, the former emergency manager for Detroit, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013; Mayor James Diossa of Central Falls, R.I., which sought Chapter 9 protection in 2011; and Don Graves, a former Deputy Assistant to President Obama and Counselor to Vice President Biden, who worked closely with the City of Detroit during its bankruptcy.
The morning event, co-hosted by the MetroHartford Alliance, was held at the Society Room on Pratt Street with a large contingent of business leaders in attendance. The evening event was held at Hartford Public High School with an audience made up primarily of city residents; this conversation dealt with the concerns of the people who live and raise their families in Hartford.
About 400 people attended the forums, and included Greater Hartford residents, representatives of the business community, elected officials and nonprofit organizations.