Church bells, higher ed raises, and politics

A week from today is the anniversary of the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, an event that will be marked with public observances, including in Washington.
 
Gov. Malloy has asked that church bells ring next Saturday morning, once for each of the 26 victims. He’s also suggested that individuals take a moment of silence and perform an act of kindness as a way to remember.
 
The Mirror will post a series of stories that examines some ways in which the massacre has affected us as a society and as a state.
 
This week, two things related to the shootings happened: The governor said his administration had completed negotiating with first responders’ unions for a one-time comp time benefit for Sandy Hook; and 911 tapes from that terrible morning at the elementary school were released.
 
Schools
 
Education writer Jacqueline Rabe Thomas reported Monday on what the governor didn’t say – no promise from Malloy that he would increase education funding next year. Thursday, she reported that a lawsuit charging that Connecticut has chronically underfunded its poorest schools would go ahead. The Malloy administration had tried to get the suit dismissed, but a judge rejected that attempt.
 
In the higher education world, the University of Connecticut released a list of hundreds of officials and administrators who’d received raises – some in excess of $10,000 – this fall.
 
And, after telling Rabe Thomas last week that the size of the raises officials in the ConnSCU system will receive later this month will be kept secret, Board of Regents President Gregory Gray reversed himself, saying that the reaction to his statement was getting “out of hand.”  The Mirror will report on the raises Dec. 27, when they will be given out.
 
Meanwhile, Rabe Thomas’s report Friday evening on the “simple philosophy” of the new chairman of the Higher Education Committee almost immediately drew comments.  Democratic Sen. Steve Cassano of Manchester said, “I have a simple philosophy: over the years the legislature has ceded too much autonomy to the universities.”
 
Elections
 
Expect “no-kidding” shrugs when the governor does announce he’s running for a second term.
 
Capitol Bureau Chief Mark Pazniokas reported this week that money has been flowing … make that gushing … toward Democrats, specifically to the state party which, along with the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), can spend ad infinitum.

Since NStar and Northeast Utilities merged last year, executives from the merged utility have given more than $51,000 to the party. And, this week, Malloy hosted a DGA “policy conference” in Hartford, where attendees spent $10,000 and up, way up, to dine with the Connecticut governor and a few other governors, including Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.
 
Two ‘Don’t Miss’ stories:   Health writer Arielle Levin Becker’s report on applications to Access Health CT, Connecticut’s exchange, surging this week.  And Pazniokas’s memory of 21 years ago when Connecticut Democrats, in New York to nominate a presidential candidate, met Nelson Mandela.
 
Have a good weekend….

Jenifer Frank
Mirror Editor

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