GAE co-chairman Chris Caruso soothes a witness in private and attacks him in public.
Today the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee held its second hearing on former Gov. John Rowland’s post-public office jobs with Klewin Building Co. and the National Science Center Foundation. One of the witnesses, a former superintendent of the state’s technical schools who signed off on a mass buy of the foundation’s software, sat in the hearing room moments before proceedings began. State Rep. Chris Caruso (D-Bridgeport), GAE co-chair, approached and graciously introduced himself. “I just want to thank you for coming,” Caruso said. The official, Dominic Spera, replied that he would try to tell the committee what he remembered. “Just be honest,” Caruso replied, and walked off. But Caruso took a much more hostile tone when Spera sat in the witness chair. The chairman asked Spera how former DOE Commissioner Ted Sergi learned of the foundation, and whether Spera perceived any pressure from Rowland to select the software. Committee members later insinuated the Rowland job was a “thank you” for the software contract the foundation received under his administration.As the line of questioning continued, and Spera tried to answer Caruso’s questions, the chairman cut him off.“Excuse me, let me finish my answer,” Spera replied. “Continue,” Caruso said curtly.“I’d appreciate it if you would let me do that,” Spera said. “That’s what we teach our kids.”“Continue. Don’t lecture me,” Caruso snapped.A pilot program for the software was already in effect when Spera came into his superintendent post, he said, adding that he perceived no pressure, and that he only had 13 hours to prepare for his GAE testimony and no documents to consult.“Quite frankly, I’ve done the best I can and I have not ducked one question,” the witness said. Caruso asked one more placid, non-controversial question and then ended the exchange.