Connecticut State Capitol (CTNEWSJUNKIE File Photo)

HARTFORD, CT – Gov. Ned Lamont’s office will use federal funding to pay McDowell Communications Group $250,000 for a three-month contract handling pandemic-related communications and media inquiries, the administration announced Tuesday.

Under the contract, Maura Fitzgerald, a senior vice president with the group, will help the Public Health Department with COVID-related communications.

McDowell Communications Group
Fitzgerald is a former DPH spokesperson and will be assisted by other staff from the firm including Dean Pagani, a former reporter who also served as chief of staff to former Gov. John G. Rowland.

The three-month contract will be funded by federal pandemic relief dollars, according to Max Reiss, Lamont’s communications director. In an email, Reiss said Fitzgerald will help the state “communicate clearly with Connecticut residents” regarding its pandemic response.

“She has already shown to be an incredibly valuable addition to our team, jumping right in as we initiated the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines both in healthcare institutions and long-term care facilities,” Reiss said.

Av Harris, the Public Health Department’s spokesman, will remain at the agency working in communications and government affairs, Reiss said.