HARTFORD, CT — Governor-elect Ned Lamont stayed busy during the holidays last week filling out a number of key administrative appointments as he heads toward his Jan. 9 inauguration.
Lamont named former Hartford Police Chief James Rovella as commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Safety.
Rovella started his career as a patrol officer and became a detective before serving for 12 years in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, where he eventually oversaw all Medicaid fraud, financial, and statewide criminal cases for the office.
He will oversee 1,735 employees in the department, with the Connecticut State Police comprising its largest division. In addition, Rovella announced that he has chosen Regina Rush-Kittle as deputy commissioner of Emergency Management and Stavros Mellekas as State Police Colonel.
“I am proud to welcome these three dedicated public servants to my administration’s leadership team,” Lamont said.” Together, we are deeply committed to making sure our state remains a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”
Rovella’s salary will be $183,340 and his nomination is subject to legislative approval.
Before joining PURA she served as deputy commissioner of DEEP, where Dykes and her colleagues approved what some view as a controversial decision to allow Dominion Energy, which owns the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford, to bid on long-term energy contracts. In addition to approving a 10-year bid for about 50 percent of the entire facility’s output, it also approved a bid for energy from Seabrook Station, which, unlike Millstone, has not said it was at risk of early retirement.
Under Dykes as deputy commissioner DEEP also approved five long-term power purchase contracts for 252 megawatts of new Class 1 renewables, including offshore wind, solar, and four fuel cells.
Dykes, whose background is mostly in energy, will oversee 618 employees and will start as the commissioner-designate this month. Her salary will be $175,000.
Rollin Cook, a seasoned criminal justice reformer from Utah, was selected to lead the Department of Correction and its 6,117 employees.
“Rollin Cook is a national expert and a leader in his field, and brings to this role experience as both a correctional officer and as an executive manager,” Lamont said. “His focus on criminal justice reform — and in particular, rehabilitation and re-entry — align with the policies I outlined during my campaign. Rollin has proven himself to be a partner with reform advocates, the law enforcement community, and correctional officers alike. That kind of collaboration is necessary for Connecticut to continue to be a leader in this area.”
He will look to carry on the work of retiring Commissioner Scott Semple. Cook served as executive director of the Utah Department of Correction. His salary will be $167,500.
Perhaps the biggest task Cook will face when he arrives will be to finish creating an inmate medical services system for $71 million per year.
Cook will start as commissioner-designate on Jan. 9.
And in keeping with a promise he made during one of the debates on the campaign trail, Lamont named Joseph Giulietti to lead the Department of Transportation.
“Joe Giulietti is a national transportation leader, a visionary and, most importantly, a true believer in the connection between strategic transportation planning and economic development,” Lamont said. “I look forward to working with him to implement my bold rail vision — including substantially reducing travel time from New Haven and our other towns to New York City — and other transportation and infrastructure projects that will support and enhance Connecticut’s economy and growth.”
Giulietti was critical in helping Metro-North Railroad get back on its feet following the fatalities at Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx. In 2014, as part of those safety improvements he agreed to a 100-day plan which also addressed operational performance.
“I look forward to bringing my experience and background in rail to Connecticut, a state ripe for rail enhancement and upgrades on its Metro-North lines, as well as the expansion of its newly launched CT Rail line,” Giulietti said. “I also appreciate the Governor-elect’s focus on upgrading the state’s aging infrastructure and using strategic transit-oriented development to help drive economic growth and prosperity for the state’s residents.”
Giulietti will start serving Jan. 9 and will oversee a department with 3,362 employees. His salary will be $240,000.