Governor-elect Dan Malloy has made two significant appointments in his administration so far and both were done without regard to political implications or how key establishment Democrats might respond. Interested parties should go to school on the appointments of Timothy Bannon as chief of staff and Ben Barnes as secretary of the Office of Policy and Management—the budget chief. Bannon is a brilliant insider who knows the lay of the land. Barnes is a longtime Malloy confidant whose success in Stamford makes him a great choice as well. Malloy also put the talented Colleen Flanagan in charge of transition communications (The Shad is a bit biased on this one. I hired Colleen as a press aid in the Senate Democratic caucus. She proved to be a great hire.)
Malloy is forming his team his own way. He’ll be firmly in control of every part of state government he can touch. But he will also be in control of the Democratic party. Legislative leaders are watching for signs of who might Malloy may tap for positions in the administration before naming committee chairs.
At the risk of going “inside baseball,” the naming of committee chairs in the state legislature is a much-anticipated event every two years. Lobbyists, advocates, business leaders, other stakeholders and the caucus members themselves eagerly await the announcements to see who they will be dealing with in their area of interest. Which legislator gets which committee is also an “ego thing” both for the lawmakers and caucus staff (those who hold the inside scoop think themselves very important).
Look for Malloy to go to the group of legislators who supported him firmly and early—in the primary against the consistently unsuccessful but uber-rich Ned Lamont. As a former insider on all of this, The Shad will have more on this to come.