HARTFORD, CT — As of July 3, Gov. Ned Lamont had failed to fill 270 vacancies in his administration, according to the Auditors of Public Accounts.
The 270 vacancies represent approximately 17% of the 1,620 seats appointed by the governor.
“Without the timely appointment or reappointment of these positions, there is an increased risk of the lack of a quorum and the lack of expected expertise of a full complement of members,” the auditors said in their report.
The auditors said the governor’s office told them that even though there is a mechanism in place to track vacant seats, many of the appointments specify a particular background or skill set which sometimes makes it difficult to find qualified individuals. The lack of a full-time designated staff member to monitor the status of appointments and vacancies has also contributed to the condition.
Paul Mounds, Lamont’s chief operating officer, said the governor’s office meets regularly to review the vacancies, many of which were inherited from former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration.
“We are making up for their backlog,” Mounds said.
According to past audits, in May 2018 as the Malloy administration was winding down there were 280 vacancies on various boards, commissions, councils, and other appointed bodies.
Mounds said to address the challenges associated with filling all gubernatorial appointments in a timely manner, the current administration has developed and now operates a website advertising open vacancies and soliciting volunteers to serve.
There are 282 boards and commissions listed on the website.
Mounds said most of these commissions and boards were created by the legislature, which also has appointments, and there’s no entity that monitors legislative vacancies on these boards and commissions.
Mounds said there is no board or commission that can’t meet because of vacancies.
The audit of the governor’s office also recommended an audit of the Governor’s Residence Conservancy, Inc. The last audit done of the conservancy was for fiscal year 2011.
“At a minimum, the conservancy should have obtained 2 audits since then. Even if the conservancy’s receipts and earnings from investments were less than $100,000 during each of the fiscal years since the last audit, it should have obtained audits for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2017,” the auditors concluded.
That was long before Lamont was elected governor.