Dispatch from Davos: Maturo is ‘boneheaded’

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy phoned home from snowy Davos, Switzerland, today to talk about networking with corporate leaders at the World Economic Forum and to take issue with analysts who say he is now running a slight deficit.

He also pronounced Joseph Maturo, the embattled mayor of East Haven, “boneheaded” for his clumsy response to the arrest of four city police officers amid allegations of deep-seated racial animosity toward Latinos.

On a day when the state and national media were waiting to see how he might reach out to Latinos, Maturo told a reporter, “I might have tacos when I go home. I’m not sure yet.”

“It was pretty boneheaded,” Malloy said. “I have to question how committed he is to his job, given that he should have seen this coming, should have been prepared for it, should have certainly responded in a different way. So I really don’t know what’s going on in his head.”

The subject of tacos and mayors was raised by reporters, not Malloy. For his criticism of the newly elected mayor of East Haven, the governor declined to join calls for the resignation of the Republican officeholder.

He chatted with Connecticut reporters on a conference call at 2 p.m. Eastern time, 8 p.m. in Davos, which is seeing record snowfalls. Malloy has an unhappy history with snow, seeing local records his first year as mayor and as governor.

“I’m having nightmares about the snow,” Malloy said.

Malloy, who is one of only two governors at the prestigious annual conference, said he has met with representatives of undisclosed companies that may be interested in establishing operations in Connecticut. On Friday, he plans to have a courtesy meeting with officials from UBS, the Swiss bank that recently committed to keeping a major presence in Stamford.

He downplayed the report issued Wednesday night by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis that the state is running a $145 million deficit.

“Honestly, I think they have it wrong,” Malloy said. “We’re confident based on the current numbers that we’re dealing with that we’ll land in the black.”

Malloy said he believes OFA did not allow for $120 million in salary savings from the pay freeze and vacancies caused by higher-than-expected numbers of retirements.

The governor said the big picture is that he inherited a $3.5 billion deficit when he took office last year. Even if OFA is right, the current problem is relatively tiny.

Malloy, who ordered emergency budget cuts earlier this week, said he is not ordering additional cuts in response to the OFA report. He said his administration would continue to closely monitor the state’s finances and make adjustments as necessary.

“Bottom line: We’ll have a balanced budget,” he said.