After an election season that saw Senate Republicans pick up a seat, the caucus is laying off seven staffers weeks before Gov.-elect Dan Malloy takes office as the first Democratic governor in 20 years.
“As a caucus and as an organization we’re evaluating our goals and objectives,” Senate Minority Leader John McKinney said in a phone interview Thursday. “It’s something that happens after every election.”
Everything from the changing world of new and social media to the fact that the House and Senate Republican leaders will be the voice of the Republican Party, led to the restructuring, McKinney said.
“The governor commands far greater attention than the leader of a state caucus,” McKinney said. That means without a Republican governor our voices will need to be twice as loud, he said referring to himself and House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero.
Employees got wind of the firings late Tuesday afternoon during a staff meeting. The seven firings include three legislative aides and four policy analyists, one of whom also serves as a press secretary. At least two of the seven are eligible for retirement, according to sources.
Before the cuts, the Senate Republican office employed about 32 researchers, lawyers, political directors, a chief of staff, press people, secretaries, public affairs specialists, and senatorial aides.
The sudden decision to layoff the employees who, in some instances, were longtime staffers didn’t sit well with some Capitol insiders. McKinney refused to discuss any of the layoffs or the hiring process to fill those positions.
“You have to understand these were very difficult decisions made in very difficult times,” McKinney said.
McKinney refused to comment on any of the rumors regarding those that may be well suited to fill the positions, including Linda McMahon’s campaign manager and former state Senator David Cappiello or Office of Policy and Mangement Deputy Secretary Michael Cicchetti.
“We have a plan for new hires and that process is under way,” McKinney said.
Christine Stuart contributed to this report.