Connecticut Public Financing Program “Safe”, For Now … But…

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As CT Newsjunkie reported late yesterday,

“By the end of the day Thursday, both House and Senate Democrats who proposed suspending Connecticut’s landmark public financing system in 2016, had withdrawn their proposals.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, made the announcement early Thursday afternoon and House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz agreed to find the money elsewhere later Thursday afternoon. The news of the reversal came part way through a press conference held by ConnPIRG, Common Cause, lawmakers and other defenders of the clean election system.”

As reported in yesterday’s Wait, What? post entitled, Connecticut’s Democratic Legislative Leaders call for suspending elections to save money…,

The Democratic leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly proposed suspending Connecticut’s public financing system, thereby allowing legislators to transfer about $11 million toward the $254 million budget deficit in this year’s state budget.

Their plan would roll back the campaign finance system that Connecticut adopted after former Governor John Rowland resigned in disgrace and was sent to prison.

Instead of keeping Connecticut’s Clean Election Program in place, Democratic leaders would return the state to the “Wild West” campaign fundraising system that favored incumbents and ensured that campaigns for the legislature were primarily financed by political action committees, lobbyists and those who benefit financially from state contracts.”

Former Governor Jodi Rell joined in condemning the Democratic leader’s move to end the Clean Elections Program but correctly noted that Governor Malloy and the General Assembly had already undermined some of the most important aspects of the historic effort to keep dirty money out of Connecticut politics.

In a statement Rell observed,

“The Democrats have effectively eviscerated the spirit of the law since 2011 and now they are looking to overturn the actual letter of the law altogether.”

Meanwhile, faced with a state budget deficit in excess of $254 million, the Senate Democrats issued their own proposal yesterday. (See CT Newsjunkie’s The Democratic Divide and CT Mirror’s Senate Dems break with House, go own way on deficit.)

As the CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf explains,

Senate Democrats issued their own deficit-mitigation plan Thursday, pressing for a retirement incentive plan opposed by House Democrats and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as damaging to the state’s overburdened pension system.

The retirement incentives were offered in place of suspending the state’s public financing of campaigns, a measure included in a list of spending cuts they jointly proposed Monday with House Democrats.

[…]

An estimated $163 million would be saved over this fiscal year and next, Senate Democrats say, by paying incentives to encourage senior state employees to retire.

Of course Connecticut has learned the hard way that while retirement incentives “reduce” the state payroll by persuading state employees to retire early, it does that by moving employees from the state payroll over to the pension fund, which is already extraordinarily underfunded.

In addition, since some state employee positions must be refilled in order to maintain some of the most critical state services, early retirement programs never save as much money as initially proposed.

For Connecticut’s most vulnerable citizens, early retirement incentive programs disrupt the level and quality of vital services they receive.

In addition, while the budget cutting plans issued by Governor Malloy, the House Democrats, the Senate Democrats and legislative Republicans differ in various ways, all target the University of Connecticut, Connecticut’s State Universities and the state’s Community Colleges for even more devastating cuts ranging in size from a low of $12 million to Governor Malloy’s high of $28 million.

Malloy has already dealt Connecticut’s public colleges and universities with the biggest budget cuts in Connecticut history, which in turn have led to massive tuition increases and reduced educational opportunities and programs.

Malloy kicks the can so far down the road that it land’s right on our children’s heads

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The voters of Connecticut need to pay special attention to Governor Dannel Malloy’s irresponsible proposal to change the way that Connecticut funds its pension program for state employees.

Governor Malloy’s plan is nothing more than an outrageous maneuver to balance his failed state budgets on the backs of our children and their future.  As the title of yesterday’s Wait, What? blog stated – Connecticut: BEWARE of Governor Malloy’s most fiscally irresponsible budget proposal yet.

The CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf provides more information about Malloy’s proposals in his latest article, explaining that the new initiative violates one of the most fundamental promises Dannel Malloy made when he was running for governor in 2010.

Keith Phaneuf writes,

“One year after taking office, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vowed to accelerate payments into the state’s cash-starved pension fund, much as a family might make extra mortgage payments now to lessen balloon payments looming in future years.”

But not surprisingly, although Malloy pushed through significant tax increases in 2011 and 2015, he used the additional funds to pay for other things and never followed through on his commitment to make those extra pension payments.

Now, in the face of new state budget problems, Malloy is completely reversing his stand on properly funding Connecticut’s State pension fund and proposing “kicking the can” down the road by pushing off $8 billion in necessary pension payments onto the next generation of Connecticut taxpayers.

Phaneuf notes,

“Under the governor’s plan, Connecticut still would catch up on its pension contributions — after 2032.”

But as the CT Mirror reports, the Governor who seems unable to tell the truth denied reality, once again, claiming,

“We are not kicking anything down the road,” Malloy said, citing a phrase he and other gubernatorial candidates used in 2010 to describe the fiscal gimmicks that had weakened the pension system and created a record-setting state budget deficit at that time.

“It is simply irresponsible to leave more and more debt for future generations.”  Malloy wrote in his 2010 campaign platform on “Taxes & The Budget.”

The governor insisted this week that it would be irresponsible to pretend state finances, and taxpayers, could afford a $6 billion-plus pension expense down the road.

Postponing some pension payments until later to avoid that fiscal iceberg is the best option, Malloy said, adding that his new plan would “smooth out” the late-term costs.”

However, the truth is that the real spike in the amount of money needed to meet the required pension payments – the real “iceberg” Malloy is referencing – does not occur this year, or next year or even the year after that.

The harsh reality is that Governor Malloy isn’t offering up this new pension funding plan because he is worried about whether the state can make its required pension payments in 2025, he is doing it NOW because he wants to use the money that we should be paying into the pension fund over the next few years to balance the state budgets during his remaining time in office.

This is not an issue of Democrats versus Republicans or Liberals versus Conservatives.  Nor is it a debate about whether there should be addition changes to Connecticut’s state employee pension program.

This debate is about whether Connecticut will fulfill its financial obligations to the state pension fund or allow Dannel Malloy to divert that money to balance his state budgets and reduce the need for additional tax increases or budget cuts.

There will always be politicians like Dan Malloy who would rather dump problems on someone else rather than actually tackling the job of developing fair and honest balanced budgets.

That said, what is not be acceptable is allowing Malloy to resolve the mess he created by dumping the problem on our children.

The national Academe Blog asks – Is Dannel Malloy – A Democratic Scott Walker?

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A special thanks to Hank Reichman, the first vice-president and chair of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, and the nationally respected Academe Blog, the blog of Academe Magazine, for reposting my Wait, What? article entitled, The Malloy Administration’s stunning attack on unions, professors and the future of Connecticut State University.

While people across the nation may not know it, in a few months, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy will be taking the helm of the Democratic Governors Association.  In that position he will claim to be speaking for the nation’s Democratic governors and be responsible for electing more Democratic governors in the 2016 election cycle.

Having already pushed through the deepest cuts in state history to Connecticut’s public institutions of higher education, the neoliberal, pro-Corporate Education Reform Industry governor is now engaged in an unprecedented attack on faculty at both Connecticut State University (now under the Connecticut Board of Regents) and the University of Connecticut.

For the first time in UConn history, the Board of Trustees, which is made up of the governor’s political appointees and donors, have hired an outside, out-of-state, Chris Christie affiliated, anti-union law firm to lead the attack on the UConn AAUP.  You can read more about the Malloy administration’s approach at UConn at: New Jersey lawyer known for privatization effort leads UConn bargaining effort against faculty. And UConn hires Gov. Chris Christie connected law firm to negotiate contract with faculty union.

And now, as yesterday’s post explains, the Malloy administration dropped a contract proposal on Connecticut State University – AAUP faculty that eliminates a requirement that the institution declare financial exigency before firing tenured and non-tenured faculty and eliminates the requirement that prior to taking that “nuclear option,’ the management first meet with the AAUP chapter to discuss and find alternative solutions to firing tenured faculty.  In addition, Malloy’s contract proposal takes the unprecedented step of inserting “Agency Fee” language into the contract itself, even though the matter is well settled and does not appear in any of the other State Employee contracts that cover more than the 45,000 Connecticut unionized state employees.

In his introduction to my blog post, Hank Reichman properly asks the question; Is Governor Dannel Malloy a water-downed, Democratic version of Scott Walker?

Reichman writes,

Last week I posted an item reporting on the bargaining efforts of two AAUP/AAUP-CBC affiliated faculty unions, the California Faculty Association (CFA) in the California State University system and the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) in the City University of New York.  Now comes word that the AAUP’s own collective bargaining chapter at the Connecticut State University (CSU) is facing a major challenge as it opens negotiations with the Board of Regents over a new contract.  Apparently the implosion of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s pathetic presidential campaign (and his accompanying collapse in the polls at home) hasn’t discouraged a Democratic imitator.  For under the administration of Governor Daniel Malloy the CSU Board of Regents has released bargaining proposals that amount to nothing less than a wholesale assault on the faculty in the true spirit of Scott Walker.  But don’t just take my word for it — or for that matter the word of our CSU chapter.  Read instead what Connecticut political blogger Jon Pelto, a former state legislator, has to say:

The Malloy Administration’s stunning attack on unions, professors and the future of Connecticut State University (Wait, What? 10/6/15)

“In a stark reminder that action speaks louder than words, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration has dropped a stunningly anti-union, anti-faculty, anti-Connecticut State University proposal on the table as it begins its contract negotiations with the CSU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the union that represents faculty and a variety of education professionals at the four universities of CSU.

“This development comes on top of the news that Malloy’s political appointees on the University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees have authorized a contract with an extremely controversial, high profile, anti-union, Governor Chris Christie affiliated New Jersey law firm to lead the negotiations against the UConn Chapter of the AAUP. That contract could cost taxpayers and students as much as $500,000 or more.

“The Malloy administration’s approach to the faculty who teach at Connecticut’s State Universities is particularly troubling since there has already been a growing recognition that Malloy’s initiative to merge the Connecticut State University and the Connecticut Community College System into the Board of Regents has been an utter failure.

“In just three years, the first two presidents of the Board of Regents were forced to leave under a cloud and Malloy’s political appointees on the Board of Regents have wasted millions of dollars in taxpayer funds on out-of-state consultants and some of those contracts apparently violated state law.

“Earlier this fall, in an effort to put his Board of Regents program back on track, Malloy had his chief-of-staff, Mark Ojakian, appointed as the [Interim] President of the Board of Regents.

“However, if the move was an attempt to turn over a new leaf and bring stability to Connecticut’s state universities and community colleges, that notion was blown away by the unbelievable anti-union, anti-professor, anti-Connecticut State University contract proposal that Malloy’s administration recently submitted.

“The proposal also includes language that will be of concern to Connecticut’s other public employee unions.

“For starters, it is safe to say that by proposing to insert a major new “agency fee” section into the CSU union contract, reducing release time for union activities and adding language that states, “Use of the Employer’s email system by CSU-AAUP staff or members for the purpose of transacting union business is strictly prohibited,” the Malloy administration’s proposal would be better suited to the likes of right-wing Republican Governor Bruce Rauner who is infamously working to destroy public employee unions in Illinois or Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker.

“The issue of Agency Fees are well settled in law and the unwarranted inclusion of such language in a Connecticut State Employee contract is not only unprecedented but mirrors a broader effort that is taking place across the country as corporate and conservative-funded anti-union front groups work to undermine collective bargaining rights in the United States.

“A key strategy that these groups are using is to try and pass laws that limit a union’s ability to communicate with its members.  In this environment, suggesting that the new contract outlaw AAUP-CSU’s ability to use their university’s email system to share information with faculty who are represented by the union is appalling.

“In fact, having studied the history of public employee unions in Connecticut and reviewed nearly every contract since public employees were given the right to collectively bargain in 1970s, Malloy’s CSU-AAUP contract proposal may very well be the most anti-union plan ever dropped on the bargaining table.

“And making matters worse, the anti-union provisions of Malloy’s proposed contract pales by comparison to the other proposals related to the Connecticut State Universities and its faculty.

“This includes eliminating all funds for faculty research, community service and professional development.  If adopted, the Malloy administration’s contract proposal would dramatically reduce the ability of CSU’s faculty to conduct the research and community service the state needs in order to grow and prosper.

“It is disturbing to say the least that Malloy, who spends much of his time claiming to be an advocate for Connecticut’s economy, would seek to destroy the important contributions that the Connecticut State Universities are making to Connecticut and its economic future.

“Equally troubling for faculty and students is that while tuition and fees have been skyrocketing due to Malloy’s record budget cuts to Connecticut’s public institutions of higher education, his new proposed contract for CSU would actually allow far more part-time faculty to be used when it comes to teaching courses.

“There is widespread recognition that Connecticut’s public institutions are already relying on too many part-time faculty when, in fact, university students need and deserve to learn from full-time faculty who can provide the knowledge, expertise, training and support that students will need in this increasing complex world.  The General Assembly has actually been very proactive on this issue, making Malloy’s maneuver all that more inappropriate.

“The Malloy administration’s plan suggests other extraordinary changes in the contract, changes that would immediately be thrown out of any reputable university or college in the nation.

“The proposed contract strips the provisions that the Board of Regents would need to declare financial exigency before firing tenured faculty and removes the Board’s duties to notify and work with the union on how to avoid financial exigency in times of extraordinary economic problems.  This change alone would ensure Connecticut State University’s national ranking and reputation would drop significantly considering the issues related to financial exigency and cooperation with faculty are deemed among the most important elements of a high quality institution of higher education in the United States.

“Eliminating the right to a termination hearing in cases of reprimand, suspension and termination is also among the proposals.  Such a change would not only be unfair to existing faculty, but open the state up to extraordinary lawsuits since there would be no mechanism to guard against politically motivated attempts by “management” to unfairly fire particular professors.

“The plan also calls for the implementation of an evaluation system worthy of George Orwell’s 1984, in which the measure of professional duty shifts from “productive service” to service that is also “collegial” (a term that is undefined) and one that requires faculty to adhere to “official policy statements,” which are not only undefined, but downright scary considering what such a phrase could possibly mean in a community built on the notion of academic freedom.

“The proposal also eliminates important job protection language for librarians, counselors and coaches.

“And, in a move that should worry all of the state’s public employee unions, the proposed contract would terminate any and all side-letters to the contract, a traditional and important mechanism that is used to make contract changes that are separate from the day to day contract or deal with special issues that arise.

“And the list goes on and on…

“With perhaps the most mean-spirited award going to the Malloy administration’s proposal that would change how the Board of Regents would deal with the children of long-time faculty who have died while employed.

“For the last twenty-five years, the State’s contract with AAUP-CSU has provided that, like other faculty dependents, children of professors who have worked at least ten years and passed away while employed by the institution could take classes tuition free, although those students would still have to pay for all fees related to course work, dormitories, meal plans, etc.

“The new proposal states that only students who are already enrolled as matriculated students could continue to take those courses.  If the faculty parent dies before the child is enrolled at the college, for example if they are still in high school, then that child is, as the saying goes is , “s**t out of luck.”

“While few rank and file union members actually believed Dannel Malloy when he said he would be a “friend of labor” in a second term, many voted for him out of fear of what his opponent Tom Foley might do if elected.

“Now with Malloy proposing anti-union, anti-faculty contract language and pushing the need for public employee concessions as a way to balance the budget – a budget Malloy promised would not need new taxes, cuts or concessions – Connecticut’s public employees are getting a taste of what they feared most.”

The Malloy Administration’s stunning attack on unions, professors and the future of Connecticut State University

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In a stark reminder that action speaks louder than words, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration has dropped a stunningly anti-union, anti-faculty, anti-Connecticut State University proposal on the table as it begins its contract negotiations with the CSU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the union that represents faculty and a variety of education professionals at the four universities of CSU.

This development comes on top of the news that Malloy’s political appointees on the University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees have authorized a contract with an extremely controversial, high profile, anti-union, Governor Chris Christie affiliated New Jersey law firm to lead the negotiations against the UConn Chapter of the AAUP. That contract could cost taxpayers and students as much as $500,000 or more.

The Malloy administration’s approach to the faculty who teach at Connecticut’s State Universities is particularly troubling since there has already been a growing recognition that Malloy’s initiative to merge the Connecticut State University and the Connecticut Community College System into the Board of Regents has been an utter failure.

In just three years, the first two presidents of the Board of Regents were forced to leave under a cloud and Malloy’s political appointees on the Board of Regents have wasted millions of dollars in taxpayer funds on out-of-state consultants and some of those contracts apparently violated state law.

Earlier this fall, in an effort to put his Board of Regents program back on track, Malloy had his chief-of-staff, Mark Ojakian, appointed as the [Interim] President of the Board of Regents.

However, if the move was an attempt to turn over a new leaf and bring stability to Connecticut’s state universities and community colleges, that notion was blown away by the unbelievable anti-union, anti-professor, anti-Connecticut State University contract proposal that Malloy’s administration recently submitted.

The proposal also includes language that will be of concern to Connecticut’s other public employee unions.

For starters, it is safe to say that by proposing to insert a major new “agency fee” section into the CSU union contract, reducing release time for union activities and adding language that states, “Use of the Employer’s email system by CSU-AAUP staff or members for the purpose of transacting union business is strictly prohibited,” the Malloy administration’s proposal would be better suited to the likes of right-wing Republican Governor Bruce Rauner who is infamously working to destroy public employee unions in Illinois or Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker.

The issue of Agency Fees are well settled in law and the unwarranted inclusion of such language in a Connecticut State Employee contract is not only unprecedented but mirrors a broader effort that is taking place across the country as corporate and conservative-funded anti-union front groups work to undermine collective bargaining rights in the United States.

A key strategy that these groups are using is to try and pass laws that limit a union’s ability to communicate with its members.  In this environment, suggesting that the new contract outlaw AAUP-CSU’s ability to use their university’s email system to share information with faculty who are represented by the union is appalling.

In fact, having studied the history of public employee unions in Connecticut and reviewed nearly every contract since public employees were given the right to collectively bargain in 1970s, Malloy’s CSU-AAUP contract proposal may very well be the most anti-union plan ever dropped on the bargaining table.

And making matters worse, the anti-union provisions of Malloy’s proposed contract pales by comparison to the other proposals related to the Connecticut State Universities and its faculty.

This includes eliminating all funds for faculty research, community service and professional development.  If adopted, the Malloy administration’s contract proposal would dramatically reduce the ability of CSU’s faculty to conduct the research and community service the state needs in order to grow and prosper.

It is disturbing to say the least that Malloy, who spends much of his time claiming to be an advocate for Connecticut’s economy, would seek to destroy the important contributions that the Connecticut State Universities are making to Connecticut and its economic future.

Equally troubling for faculty and students is that while tuition and fees have been skyrocketing due to Malloy’s record budget cuts to Connecticut’s public institutions of higher education, his new proposed contract for CSU would actually allow far more part-time faculty to be used when it comes to teaching courses.

There is widespread recognition that Connecticut’s public institutions are already relying on too many part-time faculty when, in fact, university students need and deserve to learn from full-time faculty who can provide the knowledge, expertise, training and support that students will need in this increasing complex world.  The General Assembly has actually been very proactive on this issue, making Malloy’s maneuver all that more inappropriate.

The Malloy administration’s plan suggests other extraordinary changes in the contract, changes that would immediately be thrown out of any reputable university or college in the nation.

The proposed contract strips the provisions that the Board of Regents would need to declare financial exigency before firing tenured faculty and removes the Board’s duties to notify and work with the union on how to avoid financial exigency in times of extraordinary economic problems.  This change alone would ensure Connecticut State University’s national ranking and reputation would drop significantly considering the issues related to financial exigency and cooperation with faculty are deemed among the most important elements of a high quality institution of higher education in the United States.

Eliminating the right to a termination hearing in cases of reprimand, suspension and termination is also among the proposals.  Such a change would not only be unfair to existing faculty, but open the state up to extraordinary lawsuits since there would be no mechanism to guard against politically motivated attempts by “management” to unfairly fire particular professors.

The plan also calls for the implementation of an evaluation system worthy of George Orwell’s 1984, in which the measure of professional duty shifts from “productive service” to service that is also “collegial” (a term that is undefined) and one that requires faculty to adhere to “official policy statements,” which are not only undefined, but downright scary considering what such a phrase could possibly mean in a community built on the notion of academic freedom.

The proposal also eliminates important job protection language for librarians, counselors and coaches.

And, in a move that should worry all of the state’s public employee unions, the proposed contract would terminate any and all side-letters to the contract, a traditional and important mechanism that is used to make contract changes that are separate from the day to day contract or deal with special issues that arise.

And the list goes on and on…

With perhaps the most mean-spirited award going to the Malloy administration’s proposal that would change how the Board of Regents would deal with the children of long-time faculty who have died while employed.

For the last twenty-five years, the State’s contract with AAUP-CSU has provided that, like other faculty dependents, children of professors who have worked at least ten years and passed away while  employed by the institution could take classes tuition free, although those students would still have to pay for all fees related to course work, dormitories, meal plans, etc.

The new proposal states that only students who are already enrolled as matriculated students could continue to take those courses.  If the faculty parent dies before the child is enrolled at the college, for example if they are still in high school, then that child is, as the saying goes is , “s**t out of luck.”

While few rank and file union members actually believed Dannel Malloy when he said he would be a “friend of labor” in a second term, many voted for him out of fear of what his opponent Tom Foley might do if elected.

Now with Malloy proposing anti-union, anti-faculty contract language and pushing the need for public employee concessions as a way to balance the budget – a budget Malloy promised would not need new taxes, cuts or concessions – Connecticut’s public employees are getting a taste of what they feared most.

Luke & Sara Bronin and the “Laws are only for the Little People” Crowd

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For weeks, Hartford mayoral candidate Luke Bronin was breaking Connecticut law by accepting a significant in-kind corporate contribution from the New York public relations firm that had hired Governor Dannel Malloy’s former spokesperson.

By using Andrew Doba as his own Press Secretary and Communications Director Bronin was violating two of Connecticut’s most important campaign finance laws, a prohibition on corporate contributions and a prohibition on contributions in excess of $1,000 when running for mayor.

It was only after Wait, What? reported on the Bronin campaign’s violations that Luke Bronin finally saw fit to end the illegal maneuver.  Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission has yet to fine Bronin’s campaign.

And yesterday, it was attorney and UConn Law School Professor Sara Bronin whose activities violated both Connecticut’s campaign finance law, and of even greater consequence, the Connecticut State Statutes that prohibits state employees from utilizing state resources to engage in political activities.

Fellow blogger and commentator Kevin Rennie revealed the latest chapter in the Bronins’ stunning and wonton disregard for the laws related to state employees and campaign finance in an article entitled, “Sara Bronin Has a Primary Request–and Sent It From Her UConn Email Account and published yesterday on his Blog, Daily Ructions.

In 2007, a similar violation by a Department of Transportation employees who was also a South Windsor Republican office holder and candidate led to punishment that included a 6 month suspension and unpaid leave that cost her $8,160 a month in her state salary.

As for Sara Bronin’s action, Kevin Rennie writes;

They are throwing everything they have at befuddled incumbent Pedro Segarra in his Hartford Democratic mayoral primary with Greenwich Brahmin Luke Bronin and Company. Below is an email Sara Bronin, the candidate’s abrasive spouse, sent today to University of Connecticut School of Law community from her UConn email account.

From: Bronin, Sara <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 8:18 AM
Subject: Election Law Monitoring 9/16
To: [email protected]

Hi everyone,

Putting on my Hartford resident hat, rather than professor hat for this community listserve announcement:  For those of you who may not know, there is a municipal election happening in Hartford this Wednesday, 9/16, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  One of the Democratic candidates is seeking law student/attorney poll monitors to ensure that the election runs more smoothly than last time.  (It was so bad that the State mandated a monitor to oversee the City registrar…)  For those of you who want to get some hands-on experience in election law, now’s your chance!

If you’re interested, please get in touch with Laura at 860-318-5279 or [email protected] and she will provide further instruction.  If you speak Spanish, please let her know.

Best,

Sara Bronin

Of course, as Sara and Luke Bronin must certainly know, the Connecticut state laws prohibiting state employees from using public resources to further a political campaign or engaging in political activities on state time could not be clearer.

And those laws have been regularly enforced…

In a similar situation in 2007, the focus was on Janice Snyder, a South Windsor Republican and DOT employee.

On November 3, 2007, the Hartford Courant wrote;

The chairwoman of the board of education, a Republican up for reelection Tuesday, has been placed on paid administrative leave from her job at the state Department of Transportation after local Democrats asked for copies of e-mails sent to and from her work e-mail account.

Janice Snyder, who has worked 32 years for the state Department of Transportation, was placed on leave Monday. Judd Everhart, a DOT spokesman, said Snyder would remain on leave “pending an internal investigation of the use of her computer.” Snyder is an assistant director of purchasing for the DOT.

The e-mails came to light after a member of South Windsor’s Democratic Town Committee sent a request under the state Freedom of Information Act to DOT Commissioner Ralph Carpenter.

While Snyder was eventually allowed to return to work, her punishment for violating Connecticut law was significant and costly.

Lets face it…Claiming ignorance of the law won’t be a good defense, especially since both Luke and Sara Bronin received their law degrees from the prestigious Yale University School of Law.

Perhaps even more relevant is the fact that Luke Bronin, who served as Governor Malloy’s chief lawyer from 2013-2015 and collected nearly $400,000 in taxpayer funded salary and benefits knows, or should have known, all about Connecticut’s ethics and campaign finance laws.

And there is certainly no excuse for Sara Bronin, who as a law professor at the UConn School of Law, has collected, over the years, a publicly funded salary and benefits in excess of $780,000 from the University of Connecticut.

The truth is that when other state employees and candidates have violated Connecticut State Law they have been held accountable.

It will certainly be interesting to see whether these two key allies of Governor Malloy are treated differently than everyone else has and would be treated.

Maybe, in the end, the Bronins are right…  Maybe when you travel in the “right” circles you get to play by a different set of rules because, when all is said and done, the laws really are only for the Little People.

Malloy administration selects Lisa Grasso Egan to oversee state employee negotiations

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Lisa Grasso Egan will be the Malloy administration’s new labor lawyer, according to an announcement released late last week.

Attorney Egan’s on-line professional biography brags,

“Ms. Egan has successfully defended employers in numerous litigation matters brought by discharged employees whose claims have included wrongful termination, First Amendment retaliation, and discrimination.”

Malloy’s Budget Director and Secretary of the Office Policy and Management announced Egan’s appointment saying,

“Lisa’s long experience representing government entities makes her the right person to take on the task of reorganizing this critical function at OPM.”

The CT Mirror reported the news last Friday.  Apparently the Malloy administration remains committed to releasing any controversial news on Fridays in order to minimize media coverage.

According to the CT Mirror,

“Lisa Grasso Egan, a labor lawyer with a history of representing municipalities and government agencies, was named Friday as the state’s undersecretary for labor relations.

Egan succeeds Linda Yelmini, a longtime state employee who was forced out of the job.”

Although Attorney Egan is now a senior partner for the law firm of Berchem, Moses & Devlin, her political connection to the Malloy administration appears to be through New Haven, where she had previously worked as director of labor relations for the city of New Haven and was a major, $5,000 donor, to former mayor DeStefano’s unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2006.

According to her on-line biographies, “she represented the City [of New Haven] in all aspects of collective bargaining, including the negotiation of subcontracted municipal operations. She also managed the City’s Labor Relations, Personnel, Affirmative Action and Civil Service divisions.”

Outside of her work in New Haven, Egan has taken on numerous labor law cases for a number of municipal housing authorities and boards of education around the state, including the Bridgeport Board of Education.

In a relatively more recent controversial case, Egan and her fellow attorneys convinced the Connecticut Supreme Court to reverse a 2008 trial verdict in the case of Perez-Dickson v. City of Bridgeport.

The trial granted Perez-Dickson $2,003,000, later reduced to $1,003,000, for alleged retaliation, racial discrimination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

According to Egan’s law firm, the case was noteworthy because, “the Supreme Court found that the Plaintiff’s statements to the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) were not protected speech under the First Amendment.”

“Additionally, the Supreme Court vacated the decision under C.G.S. § 17a-101e, holding that an individual may not bring a private cause of action for retaliation in reporting alleged child abuse.

In a summary posted on the Berchem, Moses & Devlin website,

“The decision’s precedential impact will be far reaching. It was cited several times in another opinion: Schumann v. Dianon Systems. In Schumann, the Court vacated an award of over 10 million dollars that was brought under C.G.S. § 31-51q by a private employee, who made statements voicing disapproval of a new urinalysis test and was subsequently terminated, because “the contentious nature of the plaintiff’s dispute…did not render his speech constitutionally protected…because when an employee has spoken in furtherance of his duties, the fact that he persists in such speech after a supervisor has told him to stop does not, without more, transform his speech into protected speech.”

The Malloy administration’s decision to select Attorney Egan to replace veteran civil servant Linda Yelmini sends an interesting message to Connecticut’s state employees, especially when it comes to the issue of their First Amendment Rights while working for the State of Connecticut.

Breaking News: State employee layoffs coming to UConn

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Updated with statement from UConn spokesperson (see end of blog post)

According to high-ranking UConn administrators, who asked to remain anonymous due to concerns about retaliation, a series of layoff notices will be going out soon to state employees at the University of Connecticut, including unionized employees.

Despite a 6.5 percent increase in tuition and fees that have already been approved for next year, inadequate state support will mean that a significant number of UConn employees will be receiving layoff notices, the first time there have been a substantive number of layoffs at the University in at least 20 years.

The UConn administrators report that the initial round of layoffs will be hitting the School of Law, the School of Social Work and at other major programs at UConn.

Governor Malloy’s record cuts to Connecticut’s public institutions of higher education have already been taking a tremendous toll.  As the State of Connecticut reduces its state budget support for UConn, the Connecticut State Universities and Community Colleges, students and their parents are being told they must pay more and get less.

In a related move to cut spending, the Connecticut Board of Regents is blindly rushing to approve a “Transform CSCU 2020” plan that will dramatically diminish the Connecticut State University and Community College System.

The disturbing news of impending layoffs comes on the heels of the decision by Governor Malloy’s political appointees on the UConn Board of Trustees to dramatically increase UConn President Susan Herbst’s salary and compensation package.

Voting at a special board meeting on December 29, 2014, the UConn Trustees approved a new compensation package that will push President Herbst’s  salary to $831,000 by 2019.  Herbst’s new contract increases her salary by 5 percent each year and provides that the UConn Board of Trustees or a committee shall review her salary annually and may increase, but not decrease her compensation package.  In addition, Herbst will receive an $80,000-a-year “deferred compensation” payment, along with a $38,000 “supplemental retirement benefit.”  The new contract also promises her a $40,000 performance bonus each year and guarantees her two “retention bonuses” totaling $200,000, one in 2016 and one in 2019.

But when the Trustees met at the specially called meeting to approve the UConn President’s new compensation package, they failed to reveal that a plan to layoff state employees at the University of Connecticut was already taking shape.

The news that UConn is facing a massive budget crisis is not news, but the use of layoffs is in stark contrast to Governor Malloy’s campaign message, which was that if re-elected, he would not raise taxes or cut vital services and would not need to engage the State’s public employee unions in any negotiations about concessions.

The state employee unions used that commitment to support a massive political effort that helped Malloy beat his Republican opponent by about 40,000 votes.

Despite Malloy’s rhetoric, state employees, including those at UConn, will be feeling the devastating impact of the projected $1.4 billion budget deficit in next year’s state budget.

As the CT Mirror reported last March, “The University of Connecticut is facing a $46.2 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1 — a 4 percent shortfall in the funding needed to continue existing programs.”

The CT Mirror added, “Further tuition increases, cuts to research funding, scaling back financial aid and stalling faculty hiring have not been ruled out to close the gap, a university spokeswoman said.”

According to reports produced by the University of Connecticut, State funding for UConn has decreased by more than $55.3 million a year since Malloy took office.

The Malloy budget cuts take the University of Connecticut back to 1995 when a New York Times article entitled, “UConn Plans Tuition Rise And Layoffs,” reported that, “Tuition at the University of Connecticut will rise 10 percent in 1994-95 and some part-time faculty members will lose their jobs this fall, the school’s trustees have decided.”

The New York Times added, “This is the sixth consecutive year that the university has called for a double-digit tuition increase. Over five years, tuition has doubled and the university has trimmed about one-fifth of its faculty and staff.”

In 1995, the State of Connecticut provided a block grant to the University of Connecticut that covered 32 percent of the University’s total operating budget.

Thanks to Malloy’s on-going cuts, the State of Connecticut’s operating grant now only provides 18.7 percent of UConn’s total operating costs.

It has been twenty years since those disastrous cuts, yet the on-going lack of state support for the University of Connecticut is jeopardizing the quality of the University and putting a UConn education more and more out of reach for Connecticut families.

As noted previous, the result of these constant budget reductions has resulted in a tremendous shift onto the backs of students and their parents.  The cost of tuition, room and board for an in-state student has at UConn has gone from $9,784 in 1995 to $23,496 this year.

And now UConn students are being told that although they will need to cough up 6.5 percent more to go to the University of Connecticut next fall, they can expect fewer staff and reduced programs.

In response to a request for a comment, UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz issued the following statement, it provides an interesting spin on how the University is going to explain the upcoming cuts.

“At this time, any workforce reductions at the university are very limited in number, affecting very few employees, and are due to reorganizations within a particular office, department, or school, not because of financial need or any reduction in state support.”

Re-post – Is it Malloy’s greatest “Wait, What?” Moment?

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Re-posting for Monday Readers;

As Governor Malloy and his administration prepare to roll-out his new “Transportation Initiative,” the Governor’s press office issued a press release Friday (January 9, 2015) to proclaim that the Governor will soon be proposing legislation to amend the Connecticut State Constitution in order to, “ensure revenues earmarked for transportation cannot be diverted for other purposes.”

Although the process to change Connecticut’s State Constitution takes two years or more, Malloy said, in his prepared statement, “We must make sure every penny we raise for transportation goes toward our vision to transform Connecticut – now and in the future,”

This incredible “Wait, What?” statement comes from the same individual who has consistently worked to balance Connecticut’s State Budget by raiding various funds and transferring money from dedicated accounts to the State’s General Fund.

But Governor Malloy now says that he is committed to ensuring that the money collected for a particular purpose will actually be spent on that purpose…

For starters, one might ask, on behalf of Connecticut’s state employees, why Governor Malloy still hasn’t created the “Health Care Trust-Fund Lock Box” that he promised to do as part of the 2011 SEBAC state employee concession agreement.

The SEBAC concession agreement provided that all state employees give up 3% of their pay to help fund future state employee retirement health care premiums.  At this point, the program is generating about $120 million dollars a year, but the money isn’t even being put aside in a special “Lock Box” fund and invested for long term growth, as Malloy promised.

The State employees have fulfilled their end of the bargain, and although the State doesn’t start matching those contributions until 2017, the SEBAC agreement required that the funds collected are to be deposited into a special “Trust Fund.”

Yet to date, the Malloy administration hasn’t even taken that necessary step….

And now Malloy is proposing a Constitutional Amendment to protect future transportation revenue?

The political maneuver is nothing short of laughable.

What follows is just A PARTIAL LIST of the budget transfers Malloy and his administration has used over the past four years to make the state budget appear balanced;

  • Transferred $2.2 million from the Boating Fund to the General Fund, eliminated the boating account and required all future revenue from watercraft registration and numbering fees to be deposited in the General Fund.
  • Transferred $600,000 from the Transportation Strategy Board in the Department of Transportation to the General Fund.
  • Transferred $7.5 million from the Regional Performance Incentive Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $1.2 million from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $450,000 from Workers Compensation Administration Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2.3 million from Consumer Counsel and Public Utility Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $500,000 from Insurance Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $4. 7 million from the School Bus Safety Belt Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred all revenue from fines, civil penalties, or restitution for violating banking law from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred multiple PROBATE COURT ADMINISTRATION FUND “surpluses” to various non-probate programs and the remaining to the General Fund
  • Transferred $3. 6 million from the Public, Education, Government Programming and Education Technology Investment Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from the Biomedical Research Trust Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from the Community Investment Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from various accounts within the Office of Policy and Management to the Litigation/Settlement account
  • Eliminated the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account Malloy created in his 2011 tax package to aid cities and towns, “saving” the General Fund nearly $100 million a year
  • Transferred $35 million from the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) to the General Fund
  • Transferred and additional 6.9 million from the Public Education and Governmental Programming Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred an additional $11 million from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $5 million from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to the General Fund
  • Transferred $30.4 million from the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) to the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million from the Municipal Video Competitiveness Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million annually (for 10 years) from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the “smart start” preschool program so the $100 million would not need to come out of the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) to the General Fund
  • Eliminated $20 million statutory transfer from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the Stem Cell Research Fund, thereby keeping the money available for the General Fund
  • Transferred and additional $1 million from the Probate Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred an additional $4 million from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $15 million from the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation to pay for one-time expenses of the Connecticut State Universities and Community Colleges

And that doesn’t even cover some of the other “fund transfers” that Malloy made.

And when it comes to actually supporting transportation, Malloy’s first term in office was marked by failing grades.

At a campaign stop last fall, Malloy told a special forum on transportation,

“This stuff is a passion to me,” and he added, “This administration is committed to build out the infrastructure of this state.”

But as a special CT Mirror investigative series in September 2014 pointed out, Malloy’s record on transportation is anything but impressive.

[For the details read Keith Phaneuf’s pieces in the CT Mirror – BUDGET CHOICES, FISCAL MANEUVERS UNDERMINE TRANSPORTATION FUNDING  IMPROVING TRANSPORTATION IN CONNECTICUT: A DECADE OF SLOW GOING, A ROUGH ROAD AHEAD FOR TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS.]

While Malloy said he had made transportation a priority and would do even more in a second term, the CT Mirror revealed;

  • Nearly $3.5 billion in financing for transportation projects has been approved — but the funds actually haven’t been borrowed and spent.
  • And as a result of the Malloy administration’s decision not to refill many important positions, the State Department of Transportation has almost 150 fewer engineers and employees than when Malloy took office, making it impossible to get a large number of projects underway.

And while Malloy may not have raided the Transportation Fund as much as former Governor Rell had done, he still siphoned off money that was supposed to be earmarked for improving Connecticut’s transportation system.

The actual level of state spending on transportation in FY14 was $91 million less had been approved by the legislature and this year’s budget diverted another $20 million.

The Transportation Fund is supposed to get most of its dollars from Connecticut’s 25-cent-per-gallon retail tax and the state’s wholesale fuel tax.  However, despite four tax increases in the wholesale fuel tax which increased Connecticut’s revenues by 40 percent since 2005, Governors Rell and Malloy have used nearly $1.4 billion on non-transportation programs.

And now Governor Malloy is saying that Connecticut should adopt a Constitutional Amendment so that taxpayers can be sure that revenue for transportation programs are actually spent on transportation programs????

Yeah, this could very well be Governor Dannel Malloy’s greatest “Wait, What?” moment (to date.)

Is it Malloy’s greatest “Wait, What?” Moment?

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As Governor Malloy and his administration prepare to roll-out his new “Transportation Initiative,” the Governor’s press office issued a press release Friday (January 9, 2015) to proclaim that the Governor will soon be proposing legislation to amend the Connecticut State Constitution in order to, “ensure revenues earmarked for transportation cannot be diverted for other purposes.”

Although the process to change Connecticut’s State Constitution takes two years or more, Malloy said, in his prepared statement, “We must make sure every penny we raise for transportation goes toward our vision to transform Connecticut – now and in the future,”

This incredible “Wait, What?” statement comes from the same individual who has consistently worked to balance Connecticut’s State Budget by raiding various funds and transferring money from dedicated accounts to the State’s General Fund.

But Governor Malloy now says that he is committed to ensuring that the money collected for a particular purpose will actually be spent on that purpose…

For starters, one might ask, on behalf of Connecticut’s state employees, why Governor Malloy still hasn’t created the “Health Care Trust-Fund Lock Box” that he promised to do as part of the 2011 SEBAC state employee concession agreement.

The SEBAC concession agreement provided that all state employees give up 3% of their pay to help fund future state employee retirement health care premiums.  At this point, the program is generating about $120 million dollars a year, but the money isn’t even being put aside in a special “Lock Box” fund and invested for long term growth, as Malloy promised.

The State employees have fulfilled their end of the bargain, and although the State doesn’t start matching those contributions until 2017, the SEBAC agreement required that the funds collected are to be deposited into a special “Trust Fund.”

Yet to date, the Malloy administration hasn’t even taken that necessary step….

And now Malloy is proposing a Constitutional Amendment to protect future transportation revenue?

The political maneuver is nothing short of laughable.

What follows is just A PARTIAL LIST of the budget transfers Malloy and his administration has used over the past four years to make the state budget appear balanced;

  • Transferred $2.2 million from the Boating Fund to the General Fund, eliminated the boating account and required all future revenue from watercraft registration and numbering fees to be deposited in the General Fund.
  • Transferred $600,000 from the Transportation Strategy Board in the Department of Transportation to the General Fund.
  • Transferred $7.5 million from the Regional Performance Incentive Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $1.2 million from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $450,000 from Workers Compensation Administration Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2.3 million from Consumer Counsel and Public Utility Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $500,000 from Insurance Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $4. 7 million from the School Bus Safety Belt Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred all revenue from fines, civil penalties, or restitution for violating banking law from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred multiple PROBATE COURT ADMINISTRATION FUND “surpluses” to various non-probate programs and the remaining to the General Fund
  • Transferred $3. 6 million from the Public, Education, Government Programming and Education Technology Investment Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from the Biomedical Research Trust Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from the Community Investment Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from various accounts within the Office of Policy and Management to the Litigation/Settlement account
  • Eliminated the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account Malloy created in his 2011 tax package to aid cities and towns, “saving” the General Fund nearly $100 million a year
  • Transferred $35 million from the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) to the General Fund
  • Transferred and additional 6.9 million from the Public Education and Governmental Programming Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred an additional $11 million from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $5 million from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to the General Fund
  • Transferred $30.4 million from the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) to the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million from the Municipal Video Competitiveness Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million annually (for 10 years) from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the “smart start” preschool program so the $100 million would not need to come out of the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) to the General Fund
  • Eliminated $20 million statutory transfer from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the Stem Cell Research Fund, thereby keeping the money available for the General Fund
  • Transferred and additional $1 million from the Probate Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred an additional $4 million from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $15 million from the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation to pay for one-time expenses of the Connecticut State Universities and Community Colleges

And that doesn’t even cover some of the other “fund transfers” that Malloy made.

And when it comes to actually supporting transportation, Malloy’s first term in office was marked by failing grades.

At a campaign stop last fall, Malloy told a special forum on transportation,

“This stuff is a passion to me,” and he added, “This administration is committed to build out the infrastructure of this state.”

But as a special CT Mirror investigative series in September 2014 pointed out, Malloy’s record on transportation is anything but impressive.

[For the details read Keith Phaneuf’s pieces in the CT Mirror – BUDGET CHOICES, FISCAL MANEUVERS UNDERMINE TRANSPORTATION FUNDING  IMPROVING TRANSPORTATION IN CONNECTICUT: A DECADE OF SLOW GOING, A ROUGH ROAD AHEAD FOR TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS.]

While Malloy said he had made transportation a priority and would do even more in a second term, the CT Mirror revealed;

  • Nearly $3.5 billion in financing for transportation projects has been approved — but the funds actually haven’t been borrowed and spent.
  • And as a result of the Malloy administration’s decision not to refill many important positions, the State Department of Transportation has almost 150 fewer engineers and employees then when Malloy took office, making it impossible to get a large number of projects underway.

And while Malloy may not have raided the Transportation Fund has much as former Governor Rell had done, he still siphoned off money that was supposed to be earmarked for improving Connecticut’s transportation system.

The actual level of state spending on transportation in FY14 was $91 million less had been approved by the legislature and this year’s budget diverted another $20 million.

The Transportation Fund is supposed to get most of its dollars from Connecticut’s $25 cent per gallon retail tax and the state’s wholesale fuel tax.  However, despite four tax increases in the wholesale fuel tax which increased Connecticut’s revenues by 40 percent since 2005, Governors Rell and Malloy have used nearly $1.4 billion on non-transportation programs.

And now Governor Malloy is saying that Connecticut should adopt a Constitutional Amendment so that taxpayers can be sure that revenue for transportation programs are actually spent on transportation programs????

Yeah, this could very well be Governor Dannel Malloy’s greatest “Wait, What?” moment (to date.)

Hashtag – #ConnecticutisnotWisconsin 

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To the  unions, public employees, and the voters of Connecticut – Let’s take a moment to set the record straight…

While preventing me from even speaking to the union members responsible for endorsing candidates, the leadership of the Connecticut AFL-CIO and AFT-CT were among those claiming that voters must choose Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy or Connecticut would become another Wisconsin – a reference to the damage Wisconsin Tea-Party governor, Scott Walker, and the Republican, right-wing controlled Wisconsin Legislature have done to public employees and their right to collectively bargain in that state.

In order to drive their point home, the Connecticut union leaders brought in Stephanie Bloomingdale, the secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, to give a speech at the AFL-CIO political endorsing convention.  Bloomingdale reported, “They came for us in Wisconsin and they are coming for you in Connecticut. We were the first target. Now it is your turn to stop it…

Lee Saunders, the national president of AFSCME, was also given the microphone at the event and explained that “Connecticut’s governor’s race nationally and how the labor movement can’t afford Connecticut becoming another Wisconsin.”

 But Connecticut will not be another Wisconsin. (Regardless of what happens in November)

While one can be rightfully suspicious of Republican Tom Foley, Connecticut has and will continue to have a Democratic legislature.  Wisconsin’s governor got away with undermining collective bargaining BECAUSE he has a right-wing Republican legislature to support is anti-union, anti-public employee, anti-teacher, anti-public education initiatives.

Thanks to the way districts were drawn in the last three rounds of re-districting, Connecticut will have a Democratic legislature for decades to come.

But the #dontletCTbecomeWisconsin argument fails on a second group.

At last week’s AFL-CIO Convention, Governor Malloy took the stage and in an attempt to revise history by saying,

“I stand with labor, I always have. I always will.”

Not one union representative during this heavily scripted event challenged Malloy or even asked him to explain why he is the only Democratic governor in the nation to propose doing away with tenure and repealing the collective bargaining rights for teachers in turnaround school.

And no one confronted Malloy in order to force him to explain to state and local public employees how he intends to govern and meet our state’s obligations, including public employee salaries, healthcare and pensions when he has promised that he will not propose or accept any tax increase during his second term as governor.

Faced with a $1.3 billion projected state budget deficit next year, Malloy has promised no taxes, no cuts to vital services and no concessions from state employees.

But even putting aside salary issues, the state of Connecticut will be required to allocate more than $120 million next year just to maintain minimum funding for pension obligations and health benefits.

Furthermore, the last state employee concession agreement cut salaries by 3%, so that those dollars could be shifted to the state retirees’ healthcare fund.  As state employees know, the state of Connecticut is supposed to start matching that $125 million a year in July 2017.  But Malloy’s no tax pledge makes is virtually impossible for the state to fulfill that financial obligation. This means that state employees will learn that they took a pay cut to help fund retiree health benefits but the state walked away from its side of the bargain.

The #dontletCTbecomeWisconsin argument is simply a way to scare union members into voting for a governor who has failed to match his actions to his rhetoric.

Perhaps even more telling, the “Don’t let us become Wisconsin” is the campaign strategy that some union leaders are utilizing in other parts of the nation.

In Illinois, for example, the argument is the same.  Don’t let Illinois become Wisconsin.

And so who are voters being told to vote for?  An incumbent Democratic governor who has pushed anti-labor bills and his running mate, Paul Vallas, one of the nation’s leading champions in the effort to destroy public school teachers, their unions and the public education system.

Voters, including union members, deserve the right to vote for a candidate who will look out for their interests, not just the option of choosing one failed politician over the other.

Just take a look at this political cartoon developed by fellow education blogger, Fred Klonsky who is one of the most important pro-union, pro-teacher, pro-public education voices in Illinois.

 

The cartoon savoring the facts of the career of Paul Vallas first appeared on Fred Klonsky’s blog on June 12, 2014. The URL for the blog is http://preaprez.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/ten-minute-drawing-vote-for-quinnvallas-or-we-will-be-like-wisconsin/#comment-63640

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

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