Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released a revised proposal to balance Connecticut’s $1.6 billion deficit Thursday by eliminating 6,560 state positions through layoffs, retirements, unfilled vacancies, and the cancelation of part-time and per diem positions.
Although the job losses are about 1,000 less than a tentative proposal that would have called for the elimination of 1,000 vacant positions and layoffs of more than 6,500 state employees, the cuts are deep and severe and will affect almost all levels of state government.
The loss of 6,560 positions in state government represents more than 14 percent of the state’s workforce of 46,290 employees.
In a joint statement released with the summary of his proposal, Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said the massive layoffs were not “the road down which either of us wanted to go,” but that they were faced with no alternative to balance Connecticut’s budget after that would have plugged the gap through wage freezes and changes to employee health and benefit plans, but with a guarantee of no layoffs for state workers over the next four years.
“It’s the reason we both worked hard and in good faith to come to an agreement with SEBAC that would have avoided the layoffs of rank-and-file state employees and managers,” Malloy said. “But at this point, with no clear path to reach a ratified agreement with SEBAC, it’s our job to find a way to fill the $1.6 billion hole in the budget and ensure our budget is balanced honestly. Tomorrow we’ll send our full plan to the legislature, including these layoff numbers and additional service and programmatic cuts totaling $1.6 billion. And then we’ll work as hard as we can to mitigate the impact these layoffs and cuts will have on the people of Connecticut.”
The state agencies hit hardest under Malloy’s proposal include: the Department of Transportation, which will lose 884 positions; the Department of Correction, which will lose 863 positions; the Department of Developmental Services, which will lose 500 positions; the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, which will lose 474 positions; the University of Connecticut, which will lose 345 positions and an additional 165 positions at its Farmington-based health center; and the Department of Children and Families, which will lose 362 positions.
Malloy’s proposal eliminates 6,060 positions from the Executive Branch, including 4,328 that are currently filled, 1,599 that are vacant, and 133 temporary or per diem jobs. In addition, the governor’s plan also asks the Judicial Branch to reduce 450 jobs, and the Legislative Branch to shave an additional 50 jobs. Malloy’s plan also refers to retirements, but it does not delineate which losses will be the result of layoffs, and which from retirements.
Included in the cuts are , the state’s newest recruiting class, which would put the overall state police workforce 213 troopers short of its statutory goal of 1,248 sworn state police officers; that mandate has not been met since February 2008.
Shortly after Malloy released the summary of his proposal, House Speaker Christopher Donovan, D-Meriden, released a statement urging state employees to ratify the concession agreement, because Malloy’s plan “would harm our state in significant ways.”
"The plan submitted by the Governor today makes it abundantly clear that the interests of the state, the people of Connecticut and state employees are best served by a concessions agreement between the Administration and state employees,” Donovan said. “…That is why I am urging the Governor and SEBAC to reach an agreement - that is the most responsible action available.”
, Matt O’Connor, a spokesman for the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition, which represents the bulk of the state’s unionized employees, said that union leaders remained “committed to a mutual agreement with the administration” to avoid all layoffs, but O’Connor said that no negotiations between the Malloy administration and union leaders were currently taking place.
Malloy has repeatedly stated that he would not negotiate a new agreement with the unions
Donovan said that the legislature would conduct a public hearing on specific items in Malloy’s plan on or before Aug. 15.
A summary of the governor’s budget balancing proposal is attached as a PDF to this article; Malloy said he would submit the full plan, including programmatic details, to the General Assembly Friday.