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Senate Returns to Business as Usual. Deal Allows Coleman and Kane to Launch Bids for New Jobs, Forsaking Voters.

State Senators Eric Coleman (D-Bloomfield) and Rob Kane (R-Watertown) must have been eyeing other jobs while seeking re-election last fall. They did not mention to voters that they might not serve only two months after winning new terms in November. A deal among Senate leaders nullified November’s election results Wednesday morning as Coleman and Kane seek more lucrative state jobs. Neither took their oath of office on the first day of the new legislative session. Coleman is expected to seek a seat on the Superior Court bench, though leaders in the judicial branch believe there’s no need for additional judicial appointments in theses austere times. Kane will be nominated by Republican legislative leaders for the state auditor’s position reserved for a Republican.

Coleman will first need to make his way through the Judicial Selection Commission. Approval there would be followed by a gubernatorial nomination and then legislative approval.

Kane’s vetting will be more public and eventful. Putting Kane in an office that is the first stop on many whistleblower complaints will cause consternation among serious-minded legislators, state employees, and traditional government watchdogs.

Henry Becker, Bob Jaekle, Bob Ward, and Rob Kane. Who doesn’t belong and why? The who is obvious. They why is a longer saga.

January 4, 2017   10:11 am   Comments Off on Senate Returns to Business as Usual. Deal Allows Coleman and Kane to Launch Bids for New Jobs, Forsaking Voters.

Playing By Their Own Rules: Edsall Contract Includes Job for Son.

In every other branch of state government, this would be against the rules. Some state employees have been disciplined for schemes to provide jobs to relatives, as explained in this critical Courant editorial from August, 2016. The University of Connecticut, operates under its own rules. Former football coach Randy Edsall has been rehired by UConn, several years after betraying his young team members, and his contract includes a provision that UConn will hire his son, Corey.

That Edsall will not act as his supervisor seems scant protection for the public trust. The damage to public integrity is done with the contract requirement.

Fill marks to the  The UConn Blog for shining a light on the breach of fundamental public policy.

January 3, 2017   1:17 pm   Comments Off on Playing By Their Own Rules: Edsall Contract Includes Job for Son.

Kane Comes Up With Zero in First Report for Higher Office.

State Senator Rob Kane (R-Watertown) raised zero dollars in his first two months as a candidate for an undetermined higher office for 2018, according to a State Elections Enforcement Commission report. The unhappy legislator has been in a frantic search for a taxpayer-financed new job that will provide him with a sustainable future since he was elected to a fifth full term in November–and probably before.

Kane announced in the fall that he was exploring an undetermined higher office as a Republican for the 2018 cycle. Some have suggested that he would make a bid for governor, though that seems like a stretch. Kane is said to be intensely interested in the vacancy for a Republican state auditor. That would require Kane, however, to refuse to take his seat in the legislature Wednesday, a stunning betrayal of his constituents and a blow to the Republicans who have drawn even with the Democrats in the upper chamber. A Kane declination would force a special election more unnecessary publicly financed campaign spending, not the sort of behavior one would expect in a watchdog of public spending.

January 3, 2017   12:09 pm   Comments Off on Kane Comes Up With Zero in First Report for Higher Office.

A Day at the Trough.

The campaign finance reformers are letting the mask slip again.

January 3, 2017   11:47 am   Comments Off on A Day at the Trough.

First Up: Dargan to Get Pension Sweetener. Will Not Take Oath of Office Wednesday.

Why do they run when they do not want to serve? Veteran Democratic state Representative Stephen Dargan told his West Haven constituents last year that he very much wanted a 14th term in the House of Representatives, Daily Ructions has learned. It appears that was not true. Dargan is expected to decline to take his oath of office on Wednesday in order to snag  a position on the state Board of Pardons and Paroles with an appointment from Governor Dannel P. Malloy. Several years of service will give Dargan an enormous bump in his pension–the sort of expense that is helping to fuel Connecticut’s continuing financial crisis.

Dargan sought and received $28,150.00 in public funds for his 2016 campaign for a job he won but will not take. A special election will likely cost taxpayers tens of thousands in additional campaign expenses.

 

January 3, 2017   11:33 am   Comments Off on First Up: Dargan to Get Pension Sweetener. Will Not Take Oath of Office Wednesday.

Suzio Gets Holiday Gift as Bysiewicz Looks to 2018 Challenge.

Lucky Len Suzio as the year draws to a close. The Meriden Republican won the seat in November that had he held for most of a term early in the decade. Suzio defeated three term incumbent Dante Bartolomeo, a Meriden Democrat, who had defeated him in previous matches in the district that includes all of parts of Cheshire, Meriden, Middlefield and Middletown.

Suzio may get lucky in his 2018 challenger in the Democratic-leaning 13th Senate District. Former Democratic secretary of the state Susan Bysiewicz is said to have the race on her crowded buffet of choices for the next statewide election. Bysiewicz, you may recall, has run for governor, attorney general, and U.S. senator. She also eyed two state senate races, one that would have required her to move from Middletown to Bristol. Forces within her party squeezed her out of that one. Courts and primary voters dispatched her in some of the others.

In addition to the state senate race, Bysiewicz may also be eyeing a bid for state treasurer, if, as expected, incumbent Democrat Denise Nappier bows out of that office after five terms. The comptroller’s race could open if incumbent Kevin Lembo runs for governor. Bysiewicz would likely skip a run for her old job as secretary of state if Denise Merrill does not seek a third term. There’s always a third bid for governor.

December 30, 2016   9:11 am   Comments Off on Suzio Gets Holiday Gift as Bysiewicz Looks to 2018 Challenge.

Larry Rifkin to Begin Third Act, Leaving Daily Radio at WATR.

Larry Rifkin, will be taking his great big brain into more relaxing pursuits than what daily talk radio requires. The WATR veteran has been at his Waterbury post for seven years, more than he planned when he joined the station after a storied career in Connecticut public broadcasting.

This is not the last we will hear from the honey-voiced talker. He’ll be filling in and doing remotes for WATR. Larry will also begin dabbling in the expanding world of podcasting. He’ll also be volunteering at CRIS radio.

Whatever he does, Larry will continue to be a reasonable and interesting voice in a world that often feels like it has lost its way.

Keep up with him at rifkinradio.com.

December 27, 2016   2:56 pm   Comments Off on Larry Rifkin to Begin Third Act, Leaving Daily Radio at WATR.

Spallone Returns to House as Counsel to Speaker.

Deputy Secretary of the State James Spallone will serve as counsel to incoming House speaker Joseph Aresimowicz. Spallone, who was a state representative for five terms before becoming Denise Merrill’s deputy in 2011, will face the challenges of assisting Aresimowicz as he seeks to hold together a narrow Democratic majority as it faces the growing storm of more budget deficits and the 2018 elections, which nervous House Democrats are already dreading.

Spallone’s appointment starts to add some clarity to the extended confusion that has accompanied the shift from incumbent Speaker Brendan Sharkey.

 

December 24, 2016   1:20 pm   Comments Off on Spallone Returns to House as Counsel to Speaker.

There Is a Deal.

Senate Republicans and Democrats have reached a deal in the organization of the upper chamber. Details to follow in a joint announcement this afternoon.

Senate co-chairs, any senator can split their committee without a vote, there will be some new titles reflecting the even split, and moving business will require some kind of bipartisan agreement.

Look for some changes on how union contracts are addressed.

December 22, 2016   1:57 pm   Comments Off on There Is a Deal.

The Secret of Christmas.

While you listen to Ella, read the story of Dutch hero Marion Pritchard, who died this month at 96.

December 22, 2016   10:39 am   Comments Off on The Secret of Christmas.