Merging the Connecticut State University and the Community Colleges was a disaster in the making. Search Wait, What? for some of the earlier posts on the subject. Most disappointing of all is that the people who allowed it to happen knew better and yet actively helped push through Malloy’s plan.
Now, as a by-product of that mistake, 21 employees of the new Board of Regents have been illegally sharing hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay raises, on top of their excessive salaries.
According to the Hartford Courant, “Under pressure from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Board of Regents President Robert A. Kennedy on Wednesday suspended more than $250,000 worth of salary raises for 21 staff members that he had approved — improperly — over the past 10 months.”
The raises were ILLEGAL…You can’t suspend ILLEGAL RAISES. What you can do is require that the money be repaid and fire the people who failed to follow the law.
According to the Hartford Courant story, the Mr. Kennedy, “also announced that Michael Meotti, the board’s executive vice president who decided this week to forgo his almost $48,000 raise, would also return the additional pay that he has received since the raise took effect on June 29.”
The raises were ILLEGAL. If you illegally receive public funds you do not get to keep it. It is not one of those optional things. Let’s see, should I or shouldn’t I keep the public money I received illegally?
Meanwhile Governor Malloy’s chief attorney, Andrew McDonald, said these actions came after the Governor, “strongly urged them” to take action. McDonald added, “There’s no formal authority by the governor over the board. Our effort was more from a perspective of persuasion than instruction.”
The Governor appointed 9 of the 13 members of the Board of Regents. The Governor personally recruited Robert Kennedy to serve as President of the Board of Regents…
The raises were ILLEGAL. If a state employee acts illegally, the Governor must take action regardless of whether he calls it “perspective of persuasion” or “instruction.”
McDonald also said that the raises “might be illegal, but that would have to be determined by a judge. It’s not incorrect to say unauthorized and improper.”
Wait, Wait, What?
The language of the statute could not be clearer. The law that Malloy proposed, the Legislature adopted and Malloy signed into law says that only the Board of Regents can set the compensation of employees who work for the Board of Regents. The Board did not adopt these raises. It might be illegal? It is improper? Only a judge?
Do they forget we have state auditors? Do they forget the authority (obligation) they have to apply the written law to state activities?
Meanwhile, the CTNewswjunkie’s story includes the news that, “Attorney General George Jepsen said he has not been asked for a formal opinion on the propriety of the raises, but he indicated that they probably were inappropriate.”
Are we on American’s Funniest Home Videos or something?
Last I checked the Attorney General has the authority to simply say…you can’t do it, because it is illegal!
But if necessary, on behalf of the people of Connecticut, please accept this as a “formal” request for a “formal opinion.”
And not to be outdone, Mr. Kennedy, the President of the Board of Regents told reporters, “There was no intent to deceive or mislead, but it’s clear that I could have and should have handled this differently and in the future I will,” Kennedy said.
It is almost as if the President of the Board of Trustees, who makes $340,000 plus an extraordinary compensation page, (and his entire senior staff) are now saying that they failed to follow the law because they unintentionally failed to read the law.
If you read the various news articles, you find additional information, but they all point toward the same conclusions; the taxpayer’s money needs to be returned and people need to be fired.