“Pryor didn’t seem to care much for Connecticut’s children as education commissioner, so it stands to reason he wouldn’t hesitate to steal our jobs now that he is working in Rhode Island,” – Jonathan Pelto
As Neil Vigdor explains in the CT Post’s Former Malloy cabinet member recruits GE to Rhode Island;
A castoff from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s cabinet is coming back to haunt Connecticut with another reminder — or parting shot — that General Electric is the one that got away.
This time, to Rhode Island, where Malloy’s former education commissioner, Stefan Pryor, has played a key role in the recruitment of a new GE Digital venture to Providence.
Rhode Island leaders announced the deal Thursday, which includes an initial commitment of 100 jobs in return for $5.65 million in economic incentives.
Front and center was Pryor, the state’s commerce secretary.
It comes six months after Connecticut lost GE’s global headquarters to Boston, subjecting Malloy to intense criticism over the state’s business climate and retention efforts by his administration.
“We are excited to welcome this new GE Digital center to the Ocean State,” Pryor said. “GE is one of the world’s most important and innovative companies. This state-of-the-art center will bring high-wage advanced industry jobs to Rhode Island, enhancing the tech industry cluster that will ensure the state’s long-term economic success.”
A spokesman for Malloy declined to comment Thursday.
The vast majority of the 100 jobs will be new positions, according to a GE spokeswoman, who said the company did not put the digital venture out to bid when asked if Connecticut was in the running.
Rhode Island officials say the deal could yield hundreds of additional jobs.
GE still maintains a workforce of 4,000 employees in Connecticut, which Malloy’s defenders say has been overlooked in the relocation of the company’s headquarters.
But Malloy’s critics say that Pryor’s recruitment of GE Digital to Rhode Island, which had been in the running for the headquarters, adds insult to injury.
“It may cause an initial bruising to Governor Malloy as far as his feelings go,” said state Rep. John Frey, R-Ridgefield. “GE was so put off Governor Malloy’s presentation and dialogue last summer and fall that I sincerely doubt that they had any conversation with Connecticut about this opportunity.”
During his tenure as Connecticut’s education commissioner from 2011 to his 2014 resignation, Pryor had a rocky relationship with teacher unions and some education advocates over standardized testing and charter school expansion.
Some had publicly called for his ouster, including Jonathan Pelto, a former petition candidate for governor.
“Pryor didn’t seem to care much for Connecticut’s children as education commissioner, so it stands to reason he wouldn’t hesitate to steal our jobs now that he is working in Rhode Island,” Pelto said.