Reality is starting to set in. Gov. Dannel Malloy said the rejection of the proposed concessions deal by state employee unions would lead to painful cuts and layoffs. Now, some in the state are worried that public safety could be at risk as 56 state police officers and 191 corrections officers got pink slips Tuesday. It can’t be denied that it was labor’s full right to reject any givebacks. But its consequences can’t be ignored either. Both the state police and corrections officers’ unions voted against the concessions plan worked out by the Malloy administration and union leadership.
There are several factors at work here. First, leaders of the corrections officers unions didn’t help things when they predicted—not warned of, but predicted—prison riots and the real possibility of another Cheshire home invasion-type case. Wow. Ill-advised, unprofessional but emotion-driven comments. They should step back and dial back the rhetoric.
Meanwhile, there won’t be as much “action” at the Bergin Correctional Facility, scheduled to close next month.
To make the whole situation even worse, the Malloy communications operation isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders. It would be best to be prepared and to be transparent at this difficult time. Of the state police officers getting pink slips, he said, “I can’t confirm any of the [layoff] numbers until tomorrow,” said senior advisor Roy Occhiogrosso despite the public statements about the numbers by state police spokesman, the well-respected J. Paul Vance.
Meanwhile, broadcast and published reports say cuts in the state department of motor vehicles will mean DMV branches will be closing. Occhiogrosso is quoted as saying it’s “possible” there will be longer lines at the DMV branches that remain open. You don’t need to be a budget analyst to figure out there will be longer lines.
In a related development, state employee union leaders will meet Monday to consider changing labor bylaws regarding future votes on contract concessions; so indicates one union website. And in a hopeful note, Malloy referred to labor’s rejection of the concessions deal as “round one.”