Report: Connecticut Has Twice As Many State Government Managers As National Average
By Christopher Keating
January 10, 2011
HARTFORD — Connecticut state government has twice as many managers as the national average, and a hand-picked group of advisers told Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday that that disparity must end.
Malloy, who has decried a top-heavy state government since he was a Democratic candidate for governor, now has pledged to do something about it after taking the oath of office less than one week ago.
Malloy received the recommendation as part of more than 1,800 pages of policies and priorities for his new administration. Some recommendations will be included in Malloy's budget proposal next month, but others are long-term proposals that would be enacted over the next four years.
The report by Malloy's transition team covered 12 areas, including taxes, transportation, energy and housing. The section on the performance of state government said that it "is excessively hierarchical with multiple layers of management.''
While Connecticut has one supervisor or manager for every six front-line employees, the national average among state governments is one supervisor for every 12 workers, according to a bipartisan commission that recently studied the issue.
"The need to move to a flatter organizational structure with more authority vested in front-line workers must be addressed,'' the transition team's report said.
More than 35 members of Malloy's transition team gathered at the state Capitol to review the reports, and Malloy himself carried the thick reports in two boxes down to his office after the session ended. He told reporters that the layers of management would be reduced over a number of years.
"I didn't know until relatively recently — earlier than today — how out of whack we were with other states,'' Malloy said, adding that state government is "too top-heavy, too top-down.''
When asked by a reporter if any of the managers could be reassigned to other positions, Malloy responded, "Any openings in journalism?''
"I don't need any more experts in over-management. I've got enough of those,'' Malloy said. "I don't need any experts in surplus employment. I've got enough of those. Having said that, this is not necessarily a time that you want to push people out into a job market that doesn't exist.''
Malloy also opened the door to the re-introduction of highway tolls, but he said the issue needs to be studied further and would definitely not be part of the upcoming budget in mid-February. The report's executive summary did not mention tolls, but Malloy was asked about it by reporters in the context of his transportation agenda.
Malloy, one of eight children, told a story about having pizza in Stamford over the weekend when the issue of tolls came up.
"About half of my family supports them, and about half of my family is against them,'' he said.
The reinstallation of tolls has been highly controversial through the years as some politicians have been sharply against the idea, and others have said that tolls are a good way to generate money to improve roads and bridges. The tolls were removed by the state's last Democratic governor, William A. O'Neill, after a fiery crash on the Connecticut Turnpike at the Stratford toll booth in January 1983 that killed seven people. The driver of the tractor trailer that crashed into a series of cars was sentenced to six months in prison.
"I would never sign a tolling bill that did not, in seven ways to Sunday, lock box the revenue for transportation purposes,'' Malloy said. "I think it is inevitable that it will be actively considered.''
But tolls are clearly a long-term issue that will not be decided immediately.
"I don't assume that this budget will be based in any way on tolls,'' he said.
The 1,800 pages of reports did not stray far from the policies already espoused by Malloy. The report's executive summary says that "campaign policy statements were to be the foundation for policy development.''
Malloy and his team, led by new budget director Ben Barnes, are preparing the proposals for the Feb. 16 budget address. No details have been announced on the expected tax increases and budget cuts to close the state's projected $3.5 billion deficit for the fiscal year that starts in July. He says he wants to avoid budgetary gimmicks and one-shot revenues to balance the books.
"I have made it very clear that I want to stop borrowing money for operating expenses so that we can start borrowing money for things that you're supposed to borrow money for,'' Malloy said.
State Republican Chairman Christopher Healy said that Malloy's budget proposals — not more than 1,800 pages of recommendations and analysis — are what counts.
"The state library is filled with studies and task force reports, and most of them have never been acted on,'' Healy said. "If we're going to survive as a state, we have to reduce personnel. This is real simple. We have a lot of state employees making a lot of money with a lot of benefits. The money — the goal — is in salaries and pensions. The taxpayers and the businesses have sacrificed plenty, and there's been no sacrifice by the government. Zero.''