Malloy administration sacks former Rell press aide, legal counsel

Rich Harris, a former Associated Press editor who worked in Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s press office for six years, was dismissed today from his press job in the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Malloy’s press office, which praised Harris for his work during the recent series of storm emergencies, could not immediately say if Harris’ job was being eliminated. It referred inquiries to DEMHS, which is without a spokesman to explain the absence of its spokesman.

Mary Anne O’Neill, Rell’s former legal counsel, also was dismissed today from a staff attorney job at the Department of Information Technology.

The Malloy administration has been removing some of the Rell appointees who found other state jobs before she left office. In some cases, the appointees were placed in posts with few or no credentials, but Harris was hired for the DEMHS job after taking a test and being interviewed by an outside panel.

Republican State Chairman Chris Healy said last week that the new administration was engaged in a “witch hunt” to root out Rell appointees. Harris was in the news last week as one of the recipients of a low-digit license plate in the waning days of the Rell administration.

Colleen Flanagan, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said the decisions about the Rell appointees were handled at the agency level.