Aside from the $2 billion in concessions and cost savings they’ll be asked to sacrifice, the newest state employee bargaining group sees one of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s legislative proposals as contrary to some of his campaign rhetoric.
In one of his legislative proposals, Malloy proposed adding five police majors to the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the State Police. The additional majors would oversee the lieutenants and captains who recently won the right to form a union and collectively bargain.
“If the legislature creates new management, it’s contrary to what the governor proposed to do when he promised to create efficiencies in state government,” Matt O’Connor, spokesman for CSEA/SEIU Local 2001, said Thursday.
But Malloy’s Budget Director Ben Barnes disagrees.
Increasing the number of police majors from seven to 12 doesn’t create any “net new positions,“ because the total number of state police will remain at 1,248, Barnes said.
“They’re adding more chiefs when what we need are more Indians,” O’Connor said Friday.
“We need to maintain a certain level of management,” Barnes said of the five new positions. “It’s a pretty small number and we’re not trying to undo the agreement.”
O’Connor said it’s possible some of the new positions may take away some of new unions’ responsibilities, but Barnes disagreed.
“It’s five positions,“ Barnes said. “It’s more than a moderate response.”
But the ranks of the lieutenants and captains has slowly dwindled since they first voted to unionize. Forty-five lieutenants and captains voted to unionize four years ago and today there are just 25.
The 25 lieutenants and captains are responsible for overseeing the various units inside the state police, such as the Sex Crimes, Organized Crime, Auto Theft, and Statewide Narcotics units. And according to a 2008 study compiled by the Department of Administrative Services their salary ranges are lower than police majors.
In 2008 majors had a salary range of $96,659 to $123,987. The salary range for a lieutenant was $70,622 to $90,586 and captains were $79,445 to $101,897.
O’Connor said hiring more majors won’t be helpful in getting close to 20 lieutenant and captain positions filled to make sure those units are staffed because the public’s safety will be at risk.
It seemed like Malloy understood that on the campaign trail last February when he sent out a statement supporting CSEA/SEIU Local 2001’s right to organize. He even called then Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s decision to take the union to court over the matter “wasteful and misguided.”
“It was almost four years ago that these commissioned officers voted unanimously to unionize,” Malloy said in a Feb. 11, 2010 statement. “Since that time Gov. Rell’s administration has continued to waste taxpayer money by appealing decisions from the State Board of Labor Relations as well as a Superior Court judge, denying the officers the same basic rights that already apply to troopers and sergeants.”
“Thanks to this obstruction, 22 critical command positions remain unfilled coming out of retirements last July,” Malloy went onto say in the statement.
His acknowledgement over a year ago seems to show he understands the issue, O’Connor said, and that’s what makes the legislation so puzzling.