(Updated) Rep. David McCluskey of West Hartford was added to the growing list of lawmakers appointed to Gov.-elect Dan Malloy’s administration Thursday morning after Malloy tapped him to serve on the Board of Pardons and Parole.
McCluskey’s appointment was news to the board’s chairman, Robert Farr, who said no one currently serving on the board had indicated they didn’t wish to continue as the new administration takes office in January.
Farr, also of West Hartford and a former lawmaker himself, said for training purposes he recommended to the transition team that it stagger its appointments to the board so it can continue with its hearings in the weeks to come. It is unknown who McCluskey will be replacing or how many members of the board Malloy plans to replace.
But Malloy’s spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan said Thursday that the board member who McCluskey is to replace will be named after that person is notified that he or she will not be continuing. While some specific decisions on how many appointments will be made to state committees and boards are still being discussed, Flanagan said there will be many more in the coming weeks and months.
On Tuesday McCluskey entered the House chamber to clean out his desk while a group of school children were touring the room. When asked, McCluskey stated he was clearing his desk because maintenance workers were planning to polish them.
In a prepared statement McCluskey said he believed his experience serving as the director of public and political affairs for the Connecticut State Police Union and his experience tackling criminal justice issues as a state representative, will be helpful in his new role.
McCluskey will be one of 15 members of the board of pardons and paroles, an independent panel that has the authority to grant pardons and commute sentences for criminal convictions. It also has the power to grant parole to offenders.
The board of pardons and paroles found itself at the center of a hornet’s nest following the murders of a Cheshire family because it failed to obtain the post-sentencing transcripts for the two parolees charged with the crime.
In a prepared statement, Malloy said McCluskey will be making decisions to help keep the people of the state safe, something he said was an important function of government.
“David has been a committed public servant for a long time, and I appreciate his willingness to continue that service as a member of the Board of Pardons and Paroles,” Malloy said. “Representative McCluskey will walk a fine line in this new role, ultimately making decisions that will help keep the people of the State of Connecticut safe, while allowing those people who have served their time to become a contributing member of society.”
Throughout his career McCluskey has worked extensively on behalf of the state police, helping to enact legislation banning ticket quotas and the use of hand-held radar, which are believed to potentially cause cancer. He also organized an opposition to the 1991 lay-off of state troopers.
In June McCluskey was one of 21 people arrested for civil disobedience when he joined members of a health care workers union who were on strike. The group refused to stop blocking Park Place Health Center’s driveway. Two other public officials, Rep. Peter Tercyak of New Britain and Hartford City Councilman Larry Deutsch, were also arrested.