Saying “It's not a decision I wanted to make”, Governor Dan Malloy ordered the layoff of 56 state troopers despite the state having spent more than $4 million dollars to train the new class.
Malloy was quick to “insist” that the public would not be impacted by the trooper layoffs, but his Commissioner of Public Safety told reporters that “investigative functions would be weakened and certain response times slowed down.”
Furthermore, as a result of having to use overtime to cover the lost troopers much, if not all of the of the saving that would have been achieved by laying off the troopers in the first place will be lost.
However, putting aside the real world impact of the layoffs, the “best” part of this story is the contradiction between what Candidate Malloy said versus what Governor Malloy is doing.
Way back in last year's campaign when Malloy was trying to get the State Police Union’s endorsement and win over swing-voters Malloy promised to hire 55 additional troopers and released a major policy paper on the importance of public safety and the State Police.
Malloy's "White Paper" led with “Our state and municipal police forces have become increasingly understaffed and the number of state troopers is currently 55 short of the 1,248 mandated level. We must re-invest in the state’s commitment to community policing and ensure that Connecticut meets and exceeds statutorly required state police staffing levels.”
Yesterday, when asked about the state statute requiring that the state have 1,248 troopers, Malloy told reporters that he hadn't read the particular statute but he did go on to say that “what I believe is that under optimum times the legislature thought that was the number that was required. Suffice it to say that these are not optimum times any longer...”
His observation about the Legislature’s intent may be correct but the times were hardly optimum last year when he felt comfortable promising – in print – to bring the state up to 1,248 statutory number.
Personally I don’t know whether public safety will jeopardized or not but any financial saving will be limited at best. Perhaps more to the point, reasonable people can certainly disagree about whether state troopers should be “rewarded” or "punished" for voting against the concession package.
But one thing is for certain. If candidates are not held accountable for what they say and promise during campaigns then they are liable to say or do anything in order to get elected - even when they have no intention of following through…
Oh wait...Never mind.