Hartford Mayor-elect Luke Bronin named Howard Rifkin, a top adviser to Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, as his legal counsel Thursday.
Over 35 years, Rifkin has worked in senior positions advising a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of the state and treasurer. He was Gov. William A. O’Neill’s legal counsel, the role Bronin most recently played in the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. He was a deputy to Secretary of the State Miles Rapoport and deputy and counsel to Treasurer Denise Nappier.
Rifkin is forever telling friends he is on the verge of retirement, but there always seems to be one more job in public service. This time it’s for a young Yale-educated lawyer and Rhodes Scholar about to take control of a racially diverse and economically struggling capital city.
He called working for Bronin, who takes office on New Year’s Day, an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I lived in Hartford for 25 years. I care about the city a lot,” Rifkin said.
Before joining Wyman’s staff nearly two years ago, Rifkin was executive director of the Partnership for Strong Communities, a nonprofit group with a focus on creating affordable housing and ending homelessness.
In that job, he worked with Bronin on the Malloy administration’s successful initiative to end chronic homelessness among veterans.
In a series of appointments announced Thursday afternoon, Bronin chose officials with senior experience in government and the private sector.
His new director of development services is Sean Fitzpatrick, who was named chief of staff to the chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to lead reform efforts in the wake of the 2013 “Bridgegate” scandal.