With Hurricane Irene bearing down on Connecticut and public safety officials scrambling to prepare, there will be a few folks lamenting Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s decision this week to layoff state troopers.
The union representing state cops has been trying to thwart the cuts, arguing they defy a state law mandating a minimum staffing level of 1,248.
Senate Bill 331 as initially proposed mandated 1,150 troopers. The final version called for 1,248 and was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1998. You can read the details here.
Three current legislative leaders were among the nearly three-dozen co-sponsors: Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, and House Speaker Christopher Donovan, D-Meriden.
The three have been silent on the trooper layoffs. I sought their comments today.
Williams’ spokesman, Derek Slap, sent me the following on behalf of Williams and said Looney concurred: “It’s no secret that we had to make billions of dollars in spending cuts to close the budget deficit. That said, it’s imperative that public safety is not compromised. I’m confident that the Malloy Administration takes this seriously and can adequately protect public safety with the resources it has.”
This is hardly the first time the state has dipped below the minimum. Malloy’s predecessor, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, was similarly criticized by the police union for staffing shortages.