CTNJ file photo
Chris Donovan (CTNJ file photo)

Former Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, who has struggled to find employment since losing a 2012 Congressional primary to U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, has landed a job with the Connecticut Education Association.

Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the CEA, said Monday in a phone interview that Donovan will start was a field representative in January. As a representative, he will negotiate and enforce contracts for 1,500 teachers in Trumbull, Milford, and Stratford.

Waxenberg said Donovan was interviewed by a committee of eight to 12 teachers, who make the recommendation to the executive board. There were six vacancies for field representatives when Donovan applied. And when it came to landing the job it wasn’t his legislative experience that impressed the teachers.

“It was his experience working with the community college system and his rich history of that,” Waxenberg said.

Donovan was a union organizer in the community college system during part of his tenure in the legislature.

Waxenberg said the committee believed that — based on his background and experience — he could do the job well. And just like any other new employee, Donovan will be subject to a probationary period, he added.

Donovan has been a union organizer since the 1970s. He was elected to represent Meriden in 1992 and became Speaker of the House in 2009. He continued to serve in the General Assembly when he ran to represent the 5th Congressional District in 2012.

His congressional bid was derailed when federal prosecutors charged two of his campaign aides with conspiracy to hide the source of $27,500 in campaign donations. Donovan was never charged and federal prosecutors released a statement earlier this year letting the public know they didn’t plan to charge him.

Seven of the eight men who were convicted by a jury or pleaded guilty to the conspiracy are in prison.

According to records with the Federal Elections Commission, Donovan is still working toward paying off about $142,000 in campaign debt. There’s no time limit on how long he has to pay it off under FEC rules.

Donovan is the second former lawmaker to land a job with the CEA. Last month, the organization announced that outgoing Senate President Donald Williams would join the organization as its new deputy policy director.