Gov. M. Jodi wrote a letter to legislative leaders Thursday urging them to reject a state arbitrator’s decision to award 5,200 Department of Correction officers a three-year contract, which increases their salaries 3 percent in the first year and 2.5 percent in the following two years. (Stuart)
According to her press release, the arbitrator agreed with the state’s position in almost all cases, however:
“Unfortunately, the state’s last best offers were put on the table in May and were based on economic data available at that time, long before the national fiscal crisis created a sea-change in the state’s economic circumstances,” Rell said in a press release. (Stuart)
Now the governor wants the legislature to reject a settlement that the state advanced back in May of 2008, when there was no hint–no hint whatsoever–of an economic crisis. In fact, during that time Rell:
- Ordered a hiring freeze
- Vetoed a minimum wage increase, citing the economy as a reason
- Realized that the surplus was gone (late April)
- Considered vetoing the criminal justice bill, citing the cost (late April)
Obviously, the state had no warning that things might not be so great when this offer was made to the correctional officers, so it’s perfectly fair for the governor to perform one of her traditional surprise about-faces in asking the legislature to declare the decision null and void. What, exactly, will replace this contract offer is unknown. How long will correctional officers have to work without a contract?
It takes a two-thirds vote in both houses to overturn an arbitrator’s decision. It looks like it won’t happen, as Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams is strongly against the idea, and Speaker Chris Donovan didn’t seem all that wild about it either.
Stuart, Christine. “Gov. Asks Lawmakers To Reject Arbitrator’s Decision.” CT News Junkie 8 January, 2008.