HARTFORD, CT — The state of Connecticut will spend up to $2 million on a consultant it hired to support its reopening strategy.
Boston Consulting Group is expected to complement the volunteer work being done by the more than 50-member Reopen Connecticut Advisory Committee, which is expected to disband over the next weeks.
According to its proposal letter to the state, Boston Consulting Group will provide “targeted analytics to support effective workplanning and strategy development – for example, helping understand the current state situation and potential scenarios for re-opening.”
The consulting group will be paid $110,000 per week for a “small team” of three consultants and $140,000 per week for a “medium team” of four consultants. The contract is expected to run until June 28.
Max Reiss, a spokesman for Gov. Ned Lamont, said they expect to use federal funds to cover 100% of the cost of hiring BCG. The company is consulting with seven other states including Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
But it’s not necessarily the money that has at least one legislative leader concerned.
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said the governor is “consulting away our legislative authority.”
Fasano said legislators hold weekly calls with the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Committee Chairs, Indra Nooyi , who worked for Boston Consulting Group for six years in the early 1980s, and Dr. Albert Ko. Fasano said he doesn’t believe they are listening to lawmakers.
“We have legislative leaders who have the heart and soul of this state in their minds and they’re not being listened to,” Fasano said.
Fasano said lawmakers have their finger on the pulse of Connecticut, but there’s since they’re not in session, they haven’t been able to do much.
He said he doesn’t believe the governor’s reopening plan for restaurants is “realistic.”
He doubts restaurant owners will be opening up under the outdoor-only conditions and restrictions the state is dictating. Fasano, who owns a restaurant, also pointed out that workers who are receiving unemployment, plus $600 per week, might not want to return to work until July 23 when the unemployment runs out.
What’s unclear is how much influence Boston Consulting Group will have on the reopening process and how much longer Lamont will keep the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Committee intact. Sources have said the group will be disbanded by the end of the month.
From the very beginning, Lamont made it clear that the committee’s role is to offer recommendations; he will make the decisions.
The Reopen Connecticut Advisory Committee operates under the umbrella of Advance CT, the nonprofit that works to advance Connecticut’s overall economic competitiveness in collaboration with the Department of Economic and Community Development. The committee doesn’t have decision-making power, and can only submit recommendations to the governor for consideration. Only the education subcommittee of the group has held a public meeting and the full panel of more than 50 people rarely meets.
It’s unclear how much influence the committee has had over Lamont’s decisions to date. Since March 12, Lamont has signed 39 executive orders.