Long-time Capitol reporter Greg Hladky, now writing for the Advocate newspapers, is out with a story that reports state agencies in Connecticut have spent $20 million in taxpayers’ money on outside public relations, communications and media over the last three years. The report is stunning not only because the state is mired in a budget deficit bur because all these agencies have communications people on-staff.
Hladky was also clearly not impressed with the response to the information he got from top advisor to Gov. Malloy, Roy Occhiogrosso. (Hint: You can always tell a reporter is nonplussed with a response when he or she uses snippets of quotes from a respondent rather than whole sentences.) Occhiogrosso’s take on the tens of millions being spent on outside agencies was a combination of, “It’s Rell’s fault,” “The money was for more than just PR” (since his boss did the same thing), and conversely, “We shouldn’t be spending money on this.” Not exactly laser-focused.
The Shad was once one of those whose job it was to handle (and oversee a staff who handled) press, public relations, communications and media. I would have taken it as a personal affront and an insult if the hire-ups tried to bring in an outside agency—the hire-ups had other concerns anyway.
In short, this is a joke and yet another embarrassment to the state. No wonder taxpayers balk at increased taxes.