Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced this week that he will lay off 56 state troopers to cut costs and help balance the state budget. The Hartford Courant reported that the state has suffered through recessions, budget deficits, Wall Street losses and economic ups and downs during the 20 years since then, but troopers had always been treated as a specialized class in the state workforce and not subject to reductions.
"Laying off 56 troopers is just an unjustifiable risk to public safety,' said Andres Matthews president of the troopers’ union.
The layoffs are the result of the troopers' refusal to take a pay freeze that had been accepted by most other state employees in an attempt to save a projected $1.6 billion over two years. After months of negotiations, state employees agreed to a package that included a two-year wage freeze, along with changes to their healthcare and pension benefits. The troopers voted 657-123, to reject the wage freeze, reported the Courant.
Senator Kevin Witkos, a longtime Canton city police officer, said that the state had wasted $4 million in training expenses and salaries for the 56 troopers, who are now patrolling the state's roads. Witkos told the Courant, "state statute dictates a minimum number of state police officers, and the agency is already well below the minimum operating level of 1,248 due to retirees and a hiring freeze.”
Witkos emphasized, “These layoffs come at a dangerous time; crime in our state's cities is up, the state's buddy system is being leaned on too heavily, and our troopers are the only officers that can cross municipal lines to investigate misdemeanors and patrol state highways. Fewer troopers on the job and more work will also mean that taxpayers will be digesting the increased costs of overtime. Where are the savings?"
To read more: http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-malloy-troopers-0824-2-20110823,0,2116593.story