You certainly can’t say that Governor Malloy is preoccupied with the minutia of running the state of Connecticut.
In fact, it is probably more accurate to say that it appears that he finds the day-to-day administrative duties of serving as Connecticut’s Chief Executive Officer boring, annoying or, at the very least, a waste of his time.
Many observers and commentators have already noted that Malloy has spent more time out-of-state than any other governor in recent history. His recent “West Coast” fundraising trip, the one that he won’t discuss, is just one more example.
It certainly seems accurate to say, except in the face of an immediate natural disaster or crisis when the television cameras are running, Governor Malloy is pretty disinterested in rolling up his sleeves and attending to the actual administrative duties of managing a $20 billion dollar enterprise.
That said, when it comes to attending ground breakings or handing out taxpayer funds he is a master.
One of the most serious examples of this “hands-off” approach can be seen at the State Department of Education where Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, has been allowed to systematically dismantle the professional capabilities of the agency.
While jobs go unfilled, key administrative functions go uncompleted.
And it when tasks must actually be performed, it seems the Malloy administration is more it is comfortable with out-sourcing the work to expensive, out-of-state consultants.
The impact of this approach can be easily seen with the State Department of Education’s Alliance District Program where at least eight communities ARE STILL WAITING for approval of their Year 2 Funding plans despite the fact that the fiscal year started 120 days ago and the school years is more than two months old.
The Malloy administration is quick to wrap itself in corporate education reform rhetoric but can’t seem to even review and approve the grants needed to implement its own corporate education reform program. (Although it should be noted that checks are flowing for MassInsight, the out-of-state education reform consultants who were brought in to run the failing program).
Today we now hear about yet another example of the downside of having an Administration that is either unwilling or unable to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of running a complex organization like the government of the State of Connecticut.
A recent state audit provided a devastating assessment of the failures at the State Department of Public Health.
The situation is summarized in a press release that was sent out by the House Republicans entitled, “House Leader Cafero Blasts Health Department Over Audit Faulty Background Checks on Day Care Personnel, Missing Drugs, No Oversight.”
I use the House Republican’s verbiage, word for word, because it should send a shockwave through the entire Democratic Party and especially the Democrats who make up the Connecticut State Senate and Connecticut House of Representatives.
A consistent refrain here at Wait, What? has been to raise the question, what would “we Democrats” be saying if the table were turned and it was a Republican governor doing the things that Malloy has been doing.
“We Democrats” would be calling that Governor out on those issues and demanding immediate action.
It may be painful for Democrats to hear, but Connecticut Democrats should paying far closer attention to press releases like this one.
The Connecticut House Republicans write:
“HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Larry Cafero today criticized the state Department of Health over an audit that shows holes in background check for daycare providers, missing drugs, lack of staff oversight and numerous other findings that raise questions over agency management.
“These troubling findings by the auditors raise serious questions about how this department is being run and whether it takes seriously its core mission to function as the State of Connecticut’s premier health agency,’’ Cafero said. “These violations need to be addressed immediately.’’
One of the most troublesome cites concerned faults in background checks for child care facilities. The auditors called into question whether the department’s procedures may not turn up people not suited to working in the child care facilities due to lack of monitoring and follow-through in checking records.
“Child care providers and their employees may be operating without the required completed background checks. As a result, children in licensed child care facilities are at an increased risk of coming into contact with unsuitable individuals,’’ the report released today states.
The department agreed with the finding. The auditors came up with 17 recommendations that need to be addressed including:
- DPH has not established a process to properly track prescription drug distribution and drugs, including those used to treat pain, have gone unaccounted for;
- EMS providers have failed to submit required tracking and activity reports;
- DPH should overhaul its contractor oversight procedures to ensure that the work is being performed and invoices are processed correctly;
- Travel vouchers for employees have not been authenticated;
- Compensation time for employees lacks oversight and questions arose over allowing employees to return to work following lengthy sick leaves.
Cafero said nine of the 17 citations are repeats of a previous audit and questioned why they had not been corrected.
“Some of these findings appear relatively benign but overall the picture being painted is a general lack of oversight on the part of management that needs to be fixed,’’ he said.”
In truth, the failure of leadership at the State Department of Education and the State Department of Health are the most visible parts of a much bigger iceberg.
Democrats need to take heed before it is too late to get the captain on to the bridge.