Matt O’Connor, communications director for CSEA SEIU, the union representing about 1,000 of the Department of Transportation’s 3,000-plus employees, said tonight that just-departed DOT Chief Joseph Marie didn’t live up to expectations.
Retiring Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who hired Marie in 2008 to fix the beleaguered agency that had suffered from lots of turnover at the top, abruptly announced earlier today that the commissioner had resigned.
“He was much-touted as the outsider who would bring real reform,” O’Connor said of Marie, who came to Connecticut from Arizona. “We can tick off the good things he’s done but there’s a whole lot that hasn’t changed … On the one hand he has bucked the culture of fear and stereotype of folks who have run DOT for many years and on the other hand he’s doing business as usual.”
Marie has been giving interviews to reporters today, saying his departure was planned and amicable, but there are plenty of observers, union members included, who were shocked and are questioning how it went down.
Marie confirmed his last day on the job was actually Tuesday but Rell’s office waited until late this morning after the governor appeared in Bridgeport for a 10 a.m. bill signing to announce the news.
“It’s very unusual. All the circumstances are,” O’Connor said.
One DOT insider told me: “Folks just don’t leave like this. Nobody had a clue. Nobody. And that’s unusual.”