Malloy and Wyman collect public employee political donations – then stab state employees in the back – go figure.

The wave of state employee layoffs that are taking place in Connecticut is a disturbing reminder about how Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman approach electoral politics.

Having promised their support for public services, public employees and collective bargaining, the two neo-liberal politicians had their hands out during their last campaign to collect literally millions of dollars in donations from public sector employees.

However, once safely ensconced back into office for a second term, the dynamic duo have proposed, promoted and implemented the deepest cuts in state history to public services, a hatchet job that includes a new strategy of laying off significant numbers state employees.

It has been thirteen years since Connecticut has seen a governor laying off large numbers of state employees.  That time, disgraced former Governor John Rowland’s disastrous and illegal 2003 purge of state employees ended up costing Connecticut taxpayers about $100 million in back pay and penalties.

As the Hartford Courant reported in January 2016, State Begins Paying $100M Tab For Rowland Layoffs, Including Estimated $15M to Law Firm,

“State officials will spend most of 2016 paying an estimated $100 million tab for last year’s settlement of a long-running federal lawsuit by unions over Gov. John G. Rowland’s 2003 layoff of more than 2,000 state workers. The taxpayer money has already started flowing.”

David Golub, the attorney representing state employee unions and the state employees impacted by that round of layoffs is collecting a tidy $15 million to 17 million in scarce public funds for winning the case.

Now Golub is the lawyer working to help the Connecticut Democratic Party derail an investigation by the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission into the $6 million plus slush fund that the Democratic Party used to – illegally – (allegedly) – support Malloy and Wyman’s  2014 re-election campaign.

At issue in the Malloy/Democratic Party case is the fact that in addition to collecting their $6.2 million public finance subsidy to pay for their re-election, the Malloy/Wyman political operation knowingly and intentionally coordinated and benefited from the activities of two other political committee accounts, each of which raised millions and millions of dollars.

One entity was created by the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and other account, the one that appears to have violated Connecticut law, was run through the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Claiming to be “friends” of unions, public employees and public services, Malloy and Wyman played a role (it seems) in helping to raise money from public employee unions into the coffers of the two extra political committees.  Those union funds came directly from the pockets of public employees.

Now, of course, state employees and others who are paid with public funds are learning the true cost of putting their trust in charlatans and deceivers.

Connecticut Forward was the name of the Super-PAC that was set up by the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) to support Malloy’s 2014 campaign.  (Malloy is now Chairman of the Washington D.C. based group.)

As initially reported by Wait, What? in 2014 and then re-examined in an article published less than two months ago and entitled, Democrats Malloy and Wyman stab state employees in the back – again – and again, Malloy’s political operation and that Super-PAC relied heavily on the generosity of the public employee unions.

When they were running for re-election, Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman were all smiles as they accepted the political endorsements from Connecticut’s state employee unions and the Connecticut AFL-CIO.

When Malloy and Wyman wanted the unions to fork over money to help pay for their re-election campaign, union leaders stepped up big time.

Using hard-earned money collected from their members, AFSCME dumped $1.2 million into the Super PAC that was set up to support Malloy and Wyman’s effort to spend four more years in office.  The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) added $600,000 and SEIU donated $550,000 to the same political committee.

During the same period, Malloy and Wyman’s political fortunes were further enhanced thanks to more than $160,000 in union donations to the special account that was set up by the Democratic State Central Committee and used to pay for Malloy’s direct mail program.  Those contributions included $10,000 from AFT, $10,000 from NEA, $5,850 from SEIU, $5,000 from AFSCME and $1,800 from CEIU.

Even the Working Families Party got into the act, moving $25,000 in union funds to the Connecticut Forward Super-PAC.

Now, seventeen months later, although Malloy and Wyman knew that difficult times were ahead and chose to remain silent, public services are being destroyed and state employees are being laid off.

And to those who would dismiss the underlying issue by claiming Malloy is simply taking the financial actions that are needed to balance the state budget, one need only remember that another major source of the campaign cash for the Malloy/Wyman re-election effort was the charter school industry and their pro-Common Core, pro-Common Core testing and anti-teacher education reform allies.

In Malloy’s world of “shared sacrifice,” will proposing the deepest cuts in state history to public schools, Malloy has actually proposed adding to the $100 million a year that is already being handed over to the privately owned and operated charter schools, all while he remains committed to forcing Connecticut’s children to suffer under the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core SBAC testing scam and then using the results of that flawed testing system to evaluated teachers.

Finally, while Malloy and Wyman make incredible cuts to public services, they remain committed to an agenda of coddling the rich and opposing any reasonable efforts to make the wealthy pay their fair share.

As Malloy and Wyman institute policies that push even more of the tax burden onto local property taxpayers, Connecticut is already in a situation in which the poor pay about 12 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the middle class pay about 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes, yet the state’s wealthiest only pay about 5.5 percent of their income in state and local taxes.

The legacy is becoming very clear.  Cut vital services, layoff public employees, make Connecticut’s regressive tax system even more unfair and continue to make a mockery of the promises and pledges of their  2014 re-election campaign.

WARNING! “Budget Implementation Bill” includes language undoing post-Rowland competitive bidding reforms.

 

While the effort has yet to be reported, the bill to implement the new state budget includes a shocking move to undermine Connecticut’s competitive bidding laws.

Not satisfied with undermining Connecticut’s landmark campaign finance laws that were adopted following Governor John Rowland’s fall from grace and resulting first trip to prison, Governor Dannel Malloy is now trying to use the massive 529 section budget implementation bill to sneak through language undoing some of the most important aspects of the post-Rowland reforms to Connecticut state bidding laws.

Malloy’s proposal, which failed to make it through the legislative process during the regular legislative session, is buried deep inside the massive budget implementation bill that is being considered in today’s special session of the Connecticut General Assembly.

Sections 161 and 162 blow a huge gaping hole in the laws that were enacted to stop the illegal activities, abuses and contract steering that brought down Rowland and his administration in 2005.

However, rather than adhering to appropriate competitive bidding requirements, Malloy has embedded language in the budget implementation bill that would make it far easier to direct massive state contracts to selected bidders.

The following summary is provided by the General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Research, but even if legislators can find and understand the provisions, the demand by Malloy and the General Assembly’s Democratic leaders to pass the bill unchanged will likely mean that Malloy’s devious scheme will be adopted.

As a result of the loop-hole this language creates, some of Malloy’s largest campaign donors will find it much, much easier to get massive state contracts from the Department of Transportation.

Particularly note the language that been highlighted in red.

Emergency Certified Bill: SB 1502 – AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017 CONCERNING GENERAL GOVERNMENT, EDUCATION AND HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.

Section§ 161 — DOT ALTERNATIVE CONSTRUCTION METHODS

By law, the DOT commissioner may designate certain projects to be built using alternatives to the traditional “design-bid-build” construction process. Such alternatives include the “construction manager at risk” (CMAR) and “design-build” processes.

In a CMAR contract, an owner (e.g., DOT) contracts with a construction manager who works with the project designer and provides labor, material, and project management during construction. By law, the CMAR contract must guarantee the maximum price.

The bill allows the commissioner, when he designates a project to use a contract with a CMAR contract with a guaranteed maximum price, to have DOT personnel do the design work or contract with an architect or engineer to do so. As under current law, it requires the CMAR contractor to provide input during the design process.

Under current law, the CMAR contractor (1) is responsible for the project’s construction and (2) must select subcontractors for this work through a low sealed bid process. The bill allows, rather than requires, the CMAR contractor to be responsible for construction, and eliminates the CMAR’s responsibility to select subcontractors through sealed bids.

The bill instead allows the DOT commissioner to permit the CMAR contractor to undertake a portion of the construction itself if the commissioner finds the construction manager general contractor is able to perform this work more cost-effectively than a subcontractor. It requires trade subcontractors, selected through a process the commissioner approves, to perform all the work the general contractor does not perform.

The bill allows the commissioner to put the project out to bid under DOT’s traditional bid process if he and the CMAR contractor cannot agree on a guaranteed maximum price

By law, the commissioner must obtain competitive proposals by advertising the project at least once in a newspaper with a substantial circulation in the area where the project is located. The bill allows him to also provide this notice on DAS’s State Contracting Portal or other advertising methods likely to reach qualified CMAR general contractors. Under the bill, he may similarly advertise projects for which he is using the design-build method. In a design-build contract, an owner (e.g., DOT) contracts with a single entity that both designs and builds a project.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Section 162 — USE OF CONSULTANTS FOR DOT PROJECTS USING ALTERNATIVE CONSTRUCTION METHODS

The law seeks to have DOT gradually reduce the use of consultants and, where possible, have its employees perform development and inspection work.

By law, the commissioner must use DOT employees for development and inspection work after the performance of the first two projects using alternative construction methods, (although he may continue to use consultants after this time if needed to complete work on projects authorized for alternative construction contracts). Development services include the size, type, and design of the project, performance specifications, quality of materials, equipment, workmanship and preliminary plans other information needed for DOT to issue a bid package. The bill requires the department to issue a request for proposal, rather than bid package, when using alternative contracting methods.

The bill allows the commissioner, after the first two projects are performed, to use consultants to design the project to be built by a CMAR if he determines that DOT lacks the capacity and technical expertise to design it. He must make this determination after assessing the project delivery schedule, staffing capacity, and required technical expertise required for a CMAR project. But it specifies that detailed design work on design-build contracts remains the contractor’s responsibility. The bill requires the commissioner to create a program to train DOT employees to support alternative project delivery methods. This training may be provided on projects using consultants. The commissioner must report annually, by October 1, to the governor on (1) the department’s progress in training its employees, (2) improving the diversity of its technical expertise, and (3) building internal project delivery capacity.

The commissioner’s authority to use consultants under current law ends on the earlier of (1) when the governor notifies the Transportation Committee that consultants are no longer needed to complete alternative construction projects or (2) January 1, 2019 unless the legislature reauthorizes their use.

The bill extends (1) how long DOT can use consultants by three years, to January 1, 2022, and (2) the 2022 deadline another three years, until January 1, 2025, if the governor certifies that the continued use of consultants is necessary to complete alternative delivery projects.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

 

In the battle to speak the truth; there are those who are dedicated to the opposite

As we reach 6:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, most Wait, What? readers have turned off their computers and are joining family and friends to celebrate the passing of 2013 and ringing in 2014 with the hope that it will be a year of health, happiness, prosperity and real change.

But a late breaking story requires one more Wait, What? post of 2013.

With over a million hits, 1,259 posts and nearly 17,000 comments, Wait, What? has been dedicated to speaking out about the challenges surrounding our state and nation and striving to reveal the truth about those issues so that citizens have the information they needed to make informed decisions.

As a Democratic that is fundamentally committed to the notion that we should hold “our” leaders to the same standards that we hold our opponents, Wait, What? has become one of the most outspoken opponents of Governor Malloy and his policies.

What has become absolutely clear is that the greatest threat to the truth comes from those who knowingly mislead, misrepresent or outright lie about the facts.  People who change the facts simply to further their political agenda are the single greatest threat to a stable democracy.

As U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

To that end, former Governor John Rowland wrote a blog post today for WTIC 1080 that is so outrageous as to require an immediate response.

As the Hartford Courant reported, Rowland wrote;

In a blog post today, our former and felonious governor says liberals don’t like the fact that “too many people of color are selling drugs with 1,500 feet of schools.” This year, state legislators are expected to consider a proposal that will ease penalties for minor drug offenses near schools.

Clogging our jails with low-level drug offenders, isn’t a problem, Rowland reasons:

The Connecticut Sentencing Commission, directed by the puppeteer former State Rep. Michael Lawlor has approved a recommendation to reduce the zones around schools to make it easier to sell drugs and lower the penalties. Their argument is that too many people of color are getting arrested well…… maybe too many people of color are selling drugs within 1,500 feet of schools ? Why change the law just because you don’t like who is actually getting arrested for committing the crime?

With that Rowland violates that fundamental obligation to be truthful.

His post is so inaccurate that it is impossible to figure out even where to begin.

But I wanted to close 2013 with the promise that in the coming days readers will be provided the real facts so that they can understand that Rowland is the very thing Daniel Patrick Moynihan was warning our nation about.

You can read the Courant story here: http://courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/ex-gov-rowland-minority-drug-dealers-the-problem/ and Rowland’s blog post here: http://connecticut.cbslocal.com/2013/12/31/will-you-stand-up-for-your-rights-and-thoughts/

Check back for more in the New Year.

Till then, may 2014 bring peace, good health and happiness to you all.