(Updated 2:06 p.m.) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday that he will be consolidating seven more state agencies bringing the total number of state agencies from 59 to 52. The administration said it doesn’t know how much the consolidations will save the state, but it’s in keeping with Malloy’s desire to make government more efficient.
“Last year we began the work of changing how the state does business—making government smaller, less costly, and easier to navigate,” Malloy said in a statement. “Like companies and families across the state and the country, state government must do more with less. This session we are continuing the effort to ensure government is working as efficiently as possible.”
The consolidations will merge the University of Connecticut with UConn Health Center and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner; the Department of Administrative Services will be merged with new Department of Construction Services; the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities will be merged with the Office of Protection and Advocacy; the Teachers’ Retirement Board will be merged with the Office of the State Comptroller; the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will be merged with the Psychiatric Security Review Board; the Department of Labor will be merged with the Workers’ Compensation Commission; and the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority with the Connecticut Health and Education Facilities Authority.
Last year Malloy was successful in consolidating 81 agencies down to 59, but some of those consolidations came with pushback from stakeholders. The consolidation of the state colleges and universities under the Board of Regents and the consolidation of nine state agencies into the Office of Government Accountability caused outcry from various constituencies.
It wasn’t immediately clear if any of the seven consolidations proposed Friday morning would cause any of the same pushback. It was also unclear how many non-union jobs may be eliminated as a result.
Last year the state entered into an agreement with the state employees union, which included a no layoff clause for the next four years.
There won’t be any immediate layoffs from the consolidations, but as vacancies emerge they won’t be replaced, Malloy said in a conference call from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The state also won’t need to hire a commissioner of the Department of Construction Services, since it will be merged with the Department of Administrative Services, “where it has been operating very successfully,” Malloy said.
He said this is simply the second round of consolidations and didn’t rule out more in the future.
The move comes after two weeks of bad and worse fiscal news for the state. From news that Moody’s downgraded the state’s bond rating, to an Office of Fiscal Analysis’ report which pegs the budget deficit at $145 million, Malloy seems to be doing everything he can to stop his first budget from ending the year in the red.
The consolidations will be part of the budget adjustments Malloy releases Feb. 8 and they will need the approval of the state legislature.
Malloy said news of the consolidations were just a part of his decision to continue rolling out his budget proposals in the weeks leading up to Feb. 8.
“I’m in the business of saving billions of dollars for the taxpayers of Connecticut and cleaning up the mess that was left to me by my predecessors,” Malloy said. “And quite frankly, in some cases by acquiescence of the legislature.”
Meanwhile, Malloy described his agenda in Davos as jam packed with events. He met with UBS this morning and has met with a handful of businesses, including one interested in bringing 1,000 jobs to the state, but was unable to give any more specifics.
He also spoke with Arianna Huffington, editor of the Huffington Post, who he said was very excited about her company’s expansion in the European market. He guessed that Huffington was a regular at the event.