Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday that there will be some changes in his administration as he starts his second term.
But there probably will be no more than six changes, including commissioners and deputy commissioners.
Already, Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor have announced their departures. Both will leave before the end of the year and Malloy said they are actively searching for replacements.
Also Linda Yelmini, head of the Office of Labor Relations, was told she was being terminated by the administration. Malloy said he had nothing to do with that decision and any questions about that should be directed to Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes.
“Ben’s going to continue in the position as secretary and he’s designing what he wants I guess,” Malloy said Monday of Yelmini’s termination and the reorganization of the office.
In a phone interview Monday, Yelmini said she was told she was being terminated and is exploring her options because she believes the termination violated her due process rights.
“Right now, I have no option because I have to work for a living,” she said.
She said she was “shocked” by the administration’s decision and was told she would be replaced by a “political appointee.”
Yelmini, who is registered as an unaffiliated voter and has worked under Republican, Democratic, and independent governors, said the job has never been anything but “classified civil service” since 1975 when it was created.
Yelmini said she was told the office would be reorganized and that she was supposed to receive eight weeks notice of her termination. She said she has yet to be given an official date of departure and until that time will continue to report to the office, as hard as that may be.
“How do you work for someone who doesn’t want you?” she said.
Gian-Carl Casa, deputy undersecretary at the Office Policy and Management, declined to comment on the decision Monday.
“We don’t comment on personnel decisions,” Casa said.
Malloy said he leaves these types of personnel decisions up to his department heads.
“Within these departments, I give a lot of leeway to the people who are hired to do the job,” Malloy said.
Daniel Livingston, chief negotiator for the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition, said Monday that “we had nothing to do with her leaving.”
Livingston wanted to put to rest rumors that the labor unions, who sit across the table from Yelmini during negotiations, asked the administration to get rid of her.
“We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t want it,” Livingston said. “We were just as surprised.”
Livingston said the unions have not been briefed on the reorganization of the office, which Yelmini said was another one of the reasons they gave for her termination.
Malloy said when he hired the commissioners of the various state agencies he asked them for a two-year commitment and many have already been here four years.
Unlike when he first took office, Malloy did not ask for all his agency heads to submit their resignations to give him a chance to reconsider their appointment.
“I think that’s overly dramatic, to tell you the truth,” Malloy said.