HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Ned Lamont’s staffing changes six months into his first term have left him with a team comprised mostly of men.
Lamont announced Wednesday that he was promoting Jonathan Harris, hiring Max Reiss to replace Maribel La Luz, and senior advisor Colleen Flanagan Johnson was leaving for the private sector. The moves didn’t go unnoticed by women.
Meg Green, a former spokesperson for former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, took to Twitter Wednesday to criticize Lamont.
“There is now a shocking and disappointing lack of women on @GovNedLamont’s senior staff,” Green tweeted.
She pointed out that the general counsel, deputy chief of staff, director of operations, director of communications, and director of government affairs under Malloy were women and that was in addition to other females in the policy, communications, and legal offices.
Of the 25 people in Lamont’s office at least 10 of them are women, according to Rob Blanchard, Lamont’s deputy communications director. That’s 40% of his staff who are women.
Women make up at least 50% of Lamont’s administration, which includes the heads of major state agencies.
“It’s critical for women and people of color to be represented in all areas of government, but especially in leadership positions, including the Governor’s senior staff, where decisions are made each day that impact the citizens of Connecticut,” said Kate Farrar, executive director of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund.
That may be true, but “what’s most important is finding the right people with the right expertise and experience to work on behalf of the state’s taxpayers,” Flanagan Johnson said.
Flanagan Johnson will be replaced by Harris at the end of the month. She was replaced by a male when she left Malloy’s administration, too.
Flanagan Johnson said Lamont’s administration has proven it will build itself to look like the people it serves and “it’s important we find the right people for the right roles.”
“There is an impressive pipeline of qualified, talented, driven women serving in CT state government and I hope they are represented again soon in the rooms where decisions are made,” Green tweeted.
One of the first things Lamont did following his inauguration was to launch the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls to provide a coordinated state response to issues that impact the lives of women and girls, their families, and Connecticut.
“It’s true that women’s right are human rights,” Lamont said in January. “Honoring that reality here in Connecticut is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”