In a stunning move that surprised people across the political spectrum, Governor Malloy's administration has laid off the individual who is widely acknowledged as the best and toughest labor negotiator the State of Connecticut has ever had.
Linda Yelmini has worked as a classified state employee since 1987, serving as a key labor negotiator and personnel manager for Connecticut's Democrat and Republican governors, as well as for Independent Governor Lowell Weicker.
Those of us who have been involved in projects on the same side and opposing sides of Yelmini can attest to her extraordinary understanding of the law and her dedication to the state and its taxpayers.
Over the years, her reputation as a tough negotiator and manager has led many to observe that one definitely doesn't want to be on the wrong side of an issue that she is working on and there are certainly active, retired and fired state employees who'd even call her ruthless.
That said, there are others who would argue that while she is tough, she has constantly strived to ensure that work rules have been applied consistently...which may just be the problem the Malloy administration has with her. I'm sure they found it harder to make some political hires when the state's chief labor negotiator tells them such a move would violate state labor laws and contracts.
While the Malloy administration's decision to remove Yelmini and throw away her decades of experience is extremely odd, the way they went about it and their effort to spin their story is even stranger.
When interviewed about the news, Yelmini told reporters that the announcement to remove her from her career position had come as a "shock" and that she was told that her position would be replaced by a "political appointee."
At the same time, in what could only be called laughable, Malloy told reporters that he had nothing to do with the decision, claiming that his budget director, Ben Barnes, was solely responsible for the action."
CT Newsjunkie quoted Malloy as saying, "Ben's going to continue in the position as secretary and he's designing what he wants I guess."
The notion that the governor's budget director would lay off the state's chief negotiator and replace that person with a "political appointee" without the approval of the governor is beyond absurd.
Unless, of course, Malloy is telling the truth in which case it is an extremely sad commentary about Malloy's lack of managerial focus and his lack of commitment to his role as Connecticut's Chief Executive Officer.
The CT Newsjunkie story went on to report that, "Malloy said he leaves these types of personnel decisions up to his department heads...'Within these departments, I give a lot of leeway to the people who are hired to do the job,' Malloy said."
So let's get this straight...
Malloy is saying that despite that fact that the state is facing a projected $1.4 billion budget deficit next year, in which the Governor, himself, has consistently said he won't raise taxes, won't cut aid to towns, won't cut vital services and won't need to sit down with state employee unions to talk about concessions, he allowed an underling to fire the state's chief labor negotiator and replace her with a political appointee...and he wasn't even involved in the decision?
Yeah, and I got a bridge to sell if anyone wants to buy it.
Sen. Ted Cruz has an idea for a new Defense secretary that the incoming Senate Armed Services chairman would love.
The Texas Republican on Monday floated the name of former Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut, to replace Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon.
"We need a Secretary of Defense who is squarely focused on defending the national security interests of the United States, first and foremost, and especially preventing a bad deal over Iran's nuclear weapons program that could do irreparable harm to us and our allies," Cruz said in a statement.
"One strong option would be former Senator Joe Lieberman, a member of the President's own party with deep experience and unshakable commitment to the security of the United States. I urge the President to give him full and fair consideration for this critical position," Cruz said.
The Connecticut Post has the link to the new report by The Office of the Child Advocate. The 144 page report, which refers to Adam as 'AL' puts most of the blame on his mother for enabling, rather than providing access to competent treatment. It notes that his Asperger's Syndrome has nothing to do with the violent outcome, but does say that ~
"That AL had ready access to (assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips) cannot be ignored as a critical factor in this tragedy."
Immigrants and their advocates gathered at the Latino Cultural Center at Yale University Thursday to watch the president explain his actions, which have drawn extensive praise from Hispanic leaders but criticism from Republicans who say he is exceeding his executive power.
Millions will benefit, while others will have to wait for Congress to fix a system that most people admit is broken.
A coalition of immigrant groups over the past year, when it was clear that Congress was not going to act, switched its pressure to Obama to invoke exective action. Chief among them were the Center for Community Change, the Center for American Progress, United We Dream, the Service Employees International Union and America's Voice.
"I was overwhelmed," said Kica Matos, an official with Center for Community Change and a New Haven resident. "I never thought this would happen. The president did the right thing. It is a victory for millions of families who fought so hard. It is a victory for the immigrant rights movement. It is a victory for the civil rights movement."
Matos and others, however, said they would continue to work for a permanent fix that helps all 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Comedian Jay Leno canceled a planned appearance at a firearms trade show on the Las Vegas Strip after learning that a group representing victims of gun violence was gathering signatures urging him not to attend, his publicist said Thursday.
Leno made the decision when he was told the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show is hosted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a group that lobbies for gun owners and manufacturers, said Dick Guttman, spokesman for the former NBC "Tonight Show" host.
"He thought it was a sporting group," Guttman said. "He understands that it caused concern. He fully understands the sensitivities."
Newtown Action Alliance leader Po Murray said Leno called her Wednesday, just hours after her group announced it had collected 6,000 signatures urging Leno to cancel.
Murray and Guttman both said Leno characterized the booking as a mistake.
Murray noted it has been less than two years since a rampaging gunman killed 20 children and six staff members in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, also killed himself.
The massacre led to the formation of Murray's group, a nonprofit led by volunteers that advocates for stricter gun laws.
"To think a celebrity of that stature would participate in raising funds for the gun lobby was extremely disheartening for us," Murray said, referring to Leno.
Last week, DeLauro was the point person - by dint of her leadership post in the House Democratic Caucus - in telling Duckworth she couldn't vote by proxy in the caucus elections. Duckworth is a veteran, a double amputee from wounds incurred in the line of duty. In the late stages of pregnancy, she was told by her doctor not to travel.
Here was the line from DeLauro's office: "Congresswoman DeLauro does not want to set a precedent. There are many meritorious situations where the argument could be made for a waiver, including Congresswoman Duckworth's. The question is, how do you choose?"
Does that statement sound familiar? It's exactly the kind of paternalistic, head-patting talk that was used against women in the workplace for decades. It echoes the rhetoric that was used against the Family Medical Leave Act. It goes like this:
"I'd like to help you out, honey, but I got a business to run here. If I make an exception for you, where do I draw the line?"
Using DeLauro's logic, Dodd really should have told her, "Sorry about the cancer, sweetie, but I can't give you special treatment."
Of course, it's also a lie. Whenever political leaders do something shabby and claim they're standing on principle, they're lying. In this case, Duckworth was planning to vote the wrong way on some tin-pot ranking member post. Nancy Pelosi, DeLauro's boss, backed a different candidate. Pelosi handed DeLauro the hatchet.
I've noticed this about people sitting precariously on top of a dung hill: the smaller the dung hill gets and the more wobbly their perch, the more likely they are to mistake the dung hill for a crystal palace.
The Kennedy name is not beyond reproach among the Democrats who rule Connecticut.
When lawmakers reconvene for the new legislative session in January, the General Assembly is expected to discuss new limits on how much state parties can contribute to individual candidates for the state Senate and state House of Representatives.
The push comes after Ted Kennedy Jr. received $207,000 in aid from the Democratic State Central Committee for his victorious state Senate campaign, despite being bound by spending limits as a taxpayer-funded candidate.
Of the additional funds, $88,000 came from relatives and business associates of Kennedy, a Branford Democrat who is the son of the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy.
"I am disturbed by the way that all happened," House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, said in a recent interview. "I am concerned about the appearance it leaves."
The October 9th Wait, What? post was entitled, "There is something very, very wrong going on at Connecticut's Board of Regents."
But no, it was not a blog post about the growing controversy surrounding the effort to jam through the ill-conceived and damaging "Transform CSCU 2020" plan that is being pushed by Regent President Gregory Gray and the members of the Connecticut Board of Regents.
The Wait, What? blog with that title was posted more than two years ago (October 2012) and dealt with the myriad of problems that surfaced when the previous president of the Board of Regents, Robert Kennedy, illegally hand out nearly $300,000 in pay raises to employees in the central office despite state law and the SEBAC labor agreement that prevented such a maneuver. Three days later, Kennedy submitted his resignation and was gone.
But the sad and shocking reality is that the notion that "there is something very, very wrong going on at Connecticut's Board of Regents" is even truer today than it was two years ago.
In fact, the action being pursued by the Board of Regents and its current president may well be the worst proposal for public higher education in Connecticut history.
Rather than improve the quality and accessibility of a college education for tens of thousands of Connecticut students, their new plan, would leave Connecticut's state universities and community colleges a sad empty shadow of what they once were and could be with the proper leadership and support.
To begin to understand the situation, all you have to do is read some of the recent news stories in the CT Mirror and Hartford Courant.
Faculty decry provost's departure, president's plan for CSCU's future and ECSU faculty union gives president's plans an F and Faculty push back on president's plans for Connecticut State Universities and Regents Provost Resigns Abruptly After Less Than 8 Months and ECSU Faculty OK Organizing 'No Confidence' Vote On Regents President and Smart Classrooms Discussed At Board Of Regents Meeting
But the real problem behind the proposed "Transform CSCU 2020" is far more serious than the media coverage has yet explained.
I agree with that message from Gov. Malloy to other Dem candidates. And he is a fighter. I'll give him his due there. He did the right thing and hammered at Foley, who was a very weak candidate. Foley definitely had the air of a bored aristocrat during the entire campaign and Malloy's attacks looked like they wore out the GOP candidate. If Foley had eked out a victory, I didn't see him lasting more than 1 term.
For such a party of know-it-all wonks, Democratic candidates are incredibly timid when is comes to educating the voters. Instead of using polling data as a guide to information gaps, Dems treat weak areas like quicksand and won't go near certain subjects. As Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy points out, that's exactly the wrong approach -- and it's why lots of them lost. Via the Daily Beast:
If his fellow Ds want similar results in the wake of a bloodbath of an election that was the 2014 midterms, Malloy says: "They can't run as Republicans. Democrats can't run away from what they have done. If there is a message out there, it is that we failed to embrace our successes because we thought that it would remind people that we are Democrats. Well, guess what? I am a Democrat. And I ran as a Democrat."
Too many Democrats, in the face of national headwinds, ran as Republican-lite, Malloy said. And now many of those Democrats are heading home after long careers in public life, with some losing easily winnable races.
"The other people are the people who want to make the rich richer and, quite frankly, if that makes the poor poorer, that is OK with them. And if you don't point that out, don't be shocked that people get confused."
"What I think happened is people underestimated the ability of the voting public to put things in context," he said. "If you are going to have a contest and it is going to be about who is the grayest, then Democrats lose. But the world is more black and white than it is gray, and if you fail to point that out, then don't be surprised that you lost."
Well, Malloy has a fan at Crooks & Liars.
This guy was born with severe dyslexia and motor problems, but look what he's done. With that kind of story, he should be on somebody's VP shortlist.
With his popularity ratings still low and low in a blue state, I doubt Malloy will be on anyone's VP list.