Malloy offers new details on plans to streamline government

Pressed by his opponent, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy this week expanded on his plans to tighten Executive Branch spending, targeting more than 100 agency leadership and executive appointments assigned to the governor for review.

Malloy also said through his campaign that hundreds of other posts tied directly to gubernatorial appointments – deputy commissioners and other support staff – also could be subject to downsizing.

The former Stamford mayor, who was challenged last week by GOP rival Tom Foley after pledging to shrink the “governor’s staff” by 15 percent, was pressed for more details again over the weekend after making similar comments at a candidates’ forum in Greenwich.

“I’ve taken a pledge to downsize the executive portion of government by 15 percent, eliminating many, many jobs,” Malloy told business leaders at the Greenwich-Stamford Chamber of Commerce debate. “I didn’t say it before, so I am going to say it today: I am also going to ask the Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch to do the same thing. We need to become more efficient.”

But Foley charged in a written statement that Malloy is too nebulous when it comes to pledges of streamlining government.

After Malloy said last week that he would reduce the governor’s staff by 15 percent, Foley noted that this governor’s office, by itself, is one of the smallest components in the overall state budget, involving about $2.8 million out of $19.01 billion, or less than 1/50th of 1 percent. Outside of the governor, the office funds 31 positions, so a 15 percent reduction would equal about 4.7 staffers.

Foley’s campaign charged Malloy was leading voters to assume he planned to trim the entire Executive Branch and its more than 41,000 positions by 15 percent. Given Malloy’s strong support from state employee labor unions, Foley’s campaign manager questioned the likelihood of Malloy cutting that deeply.

“Which is it and who will be laid off when Dannel Malloy takes office?” Foley campaign manager Justin Clark said. “Dannel Malloy has developed a pattern of changing his story and his promises depending on the group he is talking to.”

But Roy Occhiogrosso, a senior adviser to the Malloy campaign, said it is hypocritical for Foley to demand more detail from Malloy, given the GOP nominee’s position that he can eliminate the projected state budget deficit without tax hikes.

“Here’s a guy who has basically said he can wave a magic wand and make a $3.4 billion deficit disappear without giving any specifics,” Occhiogrosso said. He added that while Malloy has posted over 70 pages of detailed policy proposals on his Web site, Foley has offered few policies and combined they are “the lightest and most vague of any gubernatorial candidate in recent memory.”

Occhiogrosso said Malloy has a very clear vision of how to reduce excessive layers of management and their support staff accumulated over many years.

According to the Department of Administrative Services, the governor currently controls just over 100 direct appointments to salaried positions.

These include more than 60 commissioners, executive directors and other agency heads, the 31 posts in the governor’s office – seven of which are vacant – and the members of the Workers Compensation Commission. Members of the compensation commission are full-time employees whose annual salary is set by statute at $6,000 less than those of Superior Court judges, or $140,780.

In addition to the governor’s direct appointments, though, are more than 20 deputy commissioner posts and dozens of other support staff. All totaled, Occhiogrosso said, there are “hundreds of positions” for Malloy to scrutinize.