More on Commissioner Pryor’s new communications person…only making $82k

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Last Wednesday, a Wait, What? blog post began with the reminder that, “Today’s double barreled lesson; (1) There is always room for one more Director of Communications on the ship of state, even in the face of a billion dollar deficit, and (2) there are simply no qualified PR people in Connecticut.”

The piece reported that Stefan Pryor, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, was bringing in yet another out-of-state person to help him run Connecticut’s Department of Education.

This time it was a new public relations person, the third he has had since becoming Commissioner about a year ago.

On Friday night, the CT Mirror got word that Donnelly’s salary will be a paltry $82,000, not the six figure income I had reported, although that’s still well over $100,000 with benefits.

CTMirror wrote,

“Three. That’s the number of spokespeople the Connecticut Department of Education has had in the last year following the death of the longtime spokesman Tom Murphy, who was well-respected for his exceptional knowledge about education policy in the state.

First came Mark Linabury, who now heads the Bureau of Choice Programs at the department. Then came Jim Polites, a former teacher and previous spokesman for Democratic legislators. On Friday, the education department announced Polites would be moving to Linabury’s department to “direct community affairs.”

The new spokeswoman, who started Friday, is Kelly Ann Donnelly, whose background is largely in communications for political campaigns in New York and New Jersey. Donnelly’s salary is $82,000 a year.”

 Donnelly will field questions from the media as the state education department works to implement Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education reforms.”

As noted on last Wednesday, although Donnelly has absolutely no background in public education or education policy, she is an experienced political operative, having worked on numerous political campaigns in New Jersey and New York.

Apologies to Ms. Donnelly, considering I mistakenly reported that her salary was over $100,000.

Since becoming Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor has hired a series of new, out-of-state, senior managers and consultants, almost all of whom have worked for or with him in his previous jobs.  Most recently, Pryor hired a “Chief Turnaround Officer,” who had previously worked in New York City, where she was widely known as the person in charge of closing down public schools.  She had also previously served as a consultant for the Superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District in New Orleans.

  • Suesylvester

    Apparently we have the worst educational systems in the nation…so bringing in people educated elsewhere must be what the thought is, along with “selling us” something new. I have been amazed at the number of PR people that we have hired…instead of “PRing” and “rebranding” why don’t they just fix the problems?

  • Linda174

    Do you really need to know much about teaching and learning when your primary purpose is to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt? After all the new system for evaluating CT schools is to: rank, stack, shame, feign support, close and privatize.

  • Education Reform

    While I can appreciate your willingness to apologize for an error let’s be clear her background and experiences doesn’t justify her earning 82K. Its my understanding that Jim Polites is going to work in the Regional School Choice Office doing something with Community Affairs. If he was not able to handle the responsibilities as Director of Communications and Community Partnerships how is he going to do this job. Of course being true to form the Commissioner did not advertise this position. He just move him into the position. It is my belief that jim has a connection with someone who has power because he is able to keep his job despite the fact that he couldn’t hande a similiar job.