Monthly Archives: July 2012

Correction supervisors opt not to switch union leadership

State prison guard supervisors, one of two bargaining units that rejected the 2011 state employee concession package, overwhelmingly rejected an effort to replace the union that has represented them for the last nine years, according to unofficial results. The bargaining unit, which includes 428 supervisors within the Department of Correction, voted 182-37 to remain with CSEA-SEIU Local 2001, opting not to join the National Correctional Employees Union, the unit’s president and the Department of Labor reported Wednesday
Labor Department spokeswoman Nancy Steffens said voting was conducted at a total of nine different sites over Monday and Tuesday. The petition effort among some members to join NCEU happened “at a very contentious time,” CSEA-SEIU Local 2001 spokesman Ben Phillips said Tuesday night. “The anger has subsided.” The local helped organize the correction supervisors for the first time in 2003 and the final vote shows the relationship between workers and union remains strong, he said. Continue Reading →

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Report criticizes for-profit colleges for high tuition, low graduation, high loan default rates

Thousands of Connecticut students are expected to enroll in for-profit colleges this upcoming school year, and according to a new report, most will not graduate. Nevertheless, they will be charged more for tuition than they would have been at a nearby public college, and taxpayers will pick up much of the cost in the form of defaulted loans or student aid. Amid a gamut of dismal performance ratings, enrollment in the state’s for-profit colleges has almost doubled in the state over the last decade while other colleges experienced a modest 17-percent igrowth. One out of every 20 students attending college on a campus in the state is now doing so at a for-profit institution. However, thousands more Connecticut residents are believed to be flocking to the Internet for college, which is often outside of state and federal oversight. Continue Reading →

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Federal regulations conflict with state abortion coverage plan

Washington — The federal government’s prohibition on funding abortion services sets up a new range of problems for Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administration when Connecticut implements the next phase of the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act requires all states to come up with a basic health-care coverage plan that insurers must offer, at a minimum, to all of their customers. The mandate for that basic plan would take effect in 2014, when all states must have an insurance exchange in place that would offer individuals and small businesses a choice of private insurance plans. Last week, the state’s health insurance exchange board considered a plan selected by two of its subcommittees that would  form the basis for all health insurance coverage in the state. Only companies that self-insure won’t be required to offer that plan, modeled after ConnectiCare’s HMO. Continue Reading →

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McKinney irks Cafero, Democrats with call for inquiry

Standing alone, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, called Tuesday for a bipartisan legislative inquiry into whether the federal investigation of House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan’s congressional campaign has unearthed corruption within the General Assembly. The recent indictment of Donovan’s former campaign manager, Joshua Nassi, and six others describes an exchange of emails about legislation between Nassi and a legislative aide, which McKinney described as new facts demanding a committee of inquiry. Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield
“Those facts are alarming. They are shocking. And they show that this alleged scheme of corruption went to the highest levels of the speaker’s office and thus the highest levels of our state government,” McKinney said. Continue Reading →

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Photos show Connecticut politicians in unusual settings

More than 50 photos of Connecticut politicians are scheduled to be on display at the Legislative Office Building starting Wednesday morning. The photos by Stamford photographer Tim Coffey capture these public servants — former and present — in settings of their choice. The collection is known as “Connecticut’s Political Landscape” and is Coffey’s second exhibition at the LOB. CTMirror.org asked him about his work:
Q: Most of your work is for private clients and deals with special events, promotions, etc. Why the focus on politics now? Continue Reading →

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For Danbury, immigrants are key to downtown renaissance

Danbury — When Mayor Mark Boughton talks about his city’s downtown revitalization zone, he sometimes calls it “La Zona.” It is hard to know whether he is being flip or sincere, considering that his city has been less than welcoming toward its Spanish-speaking population in the past. But this much is certain: Engaging the city’s immigrant community is central to bringing new prosperity to Danbury’s struggling downtown. And it may be working. When Danbury’s Downtown Special Services District — better known as CityCenter — first started planning a community meeting about revitalizing downtown, they expected around 25 people, chairman Tom Devine said. Continue Reading →

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Malloy gives nudge to U.S. attorney on Donovan case

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is a former prosecutor, and he has praised federal prosecutors for moving quickly in their investigation of illegal campaign contributions to the congressional campaign of House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan. On Tuesday, he again called their performance “remarkable.” But with the Democratic primary fast-approaching on Aug. 14, Malloy also gave a little nudge to U.S. Attorney David Fein about perhaps bringing some clarity to the question of whether Donovan is a target. “If it is at all possible for the U.S. attorney to say whether the speaker is a target, that would be helpful and valuable information for the voters to make their decision on the 14th, ” Malloy said. Continue Reading →

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Poll: Murphy leads McMahon and Shays out of contest

A poll released Tuesday has bad news for former Rep. Chris Shays and shows  Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy would have a comfortable lead if he’s matched up against Republican Linda McMahon in the general election for a Connecticut Senate seat. The survey, by Public Policy Polling, said “the Republican contest is pretty much over,” with McMahon leading fellow Republican Shays by a “remarkable” 48 point margin, 68-20 percent. “GOP voters flat out dislike Shays, with only 37 percent rating him favorably to 40 percent with a negative opinion,” the poll determined. That’s pretty unusual to see in a primary.” Both Shays and McMahon are running for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman’s Senate seat. Continue Reading →

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At final debate, Bysiewicz stands by discredited attacks

New London — The series of four Democratic debates for U.S. Senate concluded Monday night with Susan Bysiewicz repeating a discredited line of attack on Chris Murphy that he is the top Democratic congressional recipient of Wall Street cash. Murphy said Bysiewicz’s inaccuracies are the defining issue of the race, not any difference over their positions on issues ranging from the Bush tax cuts to the preservation of Social Security and Medicare. Bysiewicz stood by her attacks. “I’ve never seen a candidate intentionally and willfully lie over and over again after she’s been called to the carpet for it. She knows empirically I am not the top recipient of Wall Street money among members of Congress,” Murphy said. Continue Reading →

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Judge rules HealthBridge violated federal law

An administrative law judge has issued a decision on two issues raised in a hearing on the controversy between New Jersey-based HealthBridge Management and the employees of five Connecticut nursing homes. Some 600 employees of the homes have been on strike since July 3 to protest what they call unfair labor practices. Administrative Law Judge Steven Davis, in a 23-page ruling issued July 20, agreed with the National Labor Relations Board and New England Healthcare Employees Union, District 1199, that HealthBridge violated the National Labor Relations Act by preventing workers from wearing stickers or distributing flyers advertising that HealthBridge has been the subject of a labor board complaint. But in the second issue, the judge sided with HealthBridge. Since the company’s contract with its five Connecticut health care centers — in Danbury, Milford, Newington, Stamford and Westport — expired March 16, 2011, the homes stopped deducting union dues from the employees’ paychecks. Continue Reading →

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Families say care suffering as nursing home workers strike

For three and a half years at the Danbury Health Care Center, Margaret Bunblasky received the best of care — until the recent nursing home strike, her daughter says. Now Bunblasky’s daughter, Linda Bunblasky-Cioffoletti, cannot help thinking that the contentious stand-off between HealthBridge Management and its nurses’ union hastened her mother’s death. As a result of the strike, 87-year-old Bunblasky’s care-givers were replaced by a temporary staff — one Cioffoletti believes was inadequately trained to meet her mother’s needs. “My sister went to visit my mother and when she walked into her room, my mother had peaches coming out of her mouth, a spoon left on her bed, and peaches on the floor,” Bunblasky-Cioffoletti said. A replacement nursing assistant had apparently fed Bunblasky solid food instead of the puree she was supposed to have to prevent aspiration and pneumonia. Continue Reading →

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Donovan’s woes drop 5th District race from ‘leaning’ Dem to competitive for GOP

The congressional campaign of Connecticut House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan was hit Friday with a new attack ad and more bad news following the indictment of his former campaign manager. A prominent national political handicapper has reassessed the district race as more competitive for Republicans. The Rothenberg Political Report dropped its rating for the 5th Congressional District race from “Leans Democrat” to “Toss-Up/Tilts Democrat,” meaning that Donovan’s troubles make the district more likely than before to be won by the Republican party. Donovan, from Meriden, is currently the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. The downgraded status of the Democrat’s campaign comes in the wake of additional arrests Thursday in the finance scandal that has rocked Donovan’s campaign. Continue Reading →

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Merrill rebuffs GOP, says Democrats earned top slot on state ballot

Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill notified Connecticut’s top Republicans Friday that Democrats will remain at the top of the ballot this fall, and that she disagrees with their legal argument that the GOP earned the top spot based on the 2010 gubernatorial results. In a letter to Republican leaders in the state House and Senate and to the state GOP chairman, Merrill wrote that Democrats earned the top spot given that Democrat Dannel P. Malloy garnered the most votes for governor — regardless of the fact that he received them from two different lines on the 2010 ballot. Malloy, the former mayor of Stamford, outpolled Republican Tom Foley of Greenwich 567,278 votes to 560,874. But while Foley appeared in just one place on the 2010 ballot — the line for the Republican nominee — Malloy received 540,970 votes on the Democratic line, and 26,308 votes by virtue of also being the nominee of the Working Families Party. The state House and Senate minority leaders, Lawrence F. Cafero of Norwalk and John P. McKinney of Fairfield, and GOP State Chairman Jerry Labriola wrote Thursday to Merrill, arguing the Republicans deserve the top ballot spot. Continue Reading →

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