Malloy cancels raises for almost 2,000 managers, appointees

The 3 percent pay raises that nearly 2,000 non-union state managers and appointed staff were expecting to begin receiving Friday have been canceled, the Malloy administration told state agency leaders Monday afternoon.

“We have a responsibility to the taxpayers of Connecticut not to move forward with managerial raises at a time when so many state programs will see reductions and while so many state jobs are likely to be eliminated,” Brian Durand, the governor’s chief of staff, and Ben Barnes, the governor’s budget chief, wrote agency leaders Monday afternoon. “The raises for managers slated for March have been canceled.”

Malloy’s announcement comes as the legislature has to decide whether to block or allow raises for nearly 1,900 unionized, non-teaching professionals at the University of Connecticut.

Unless either the House or Senate votes in March to reject the deal UConn negotiated with its Professional Employees Union, members will receive annual raises ranging from 3 to 4.5 percent over the next five years. A portion of the annual compensation increase in the last four years of the deal is tied to members agreeing to expand their work week from 35 to 40 hours.

Malloy said last week that the UConn contract “does not fully represent the new economic reality.” Nonpartisan analysts estimate it will cost the state and university an additional $93.9 million over the next five years. On Friday, the state’s other public college system – the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities – deferred raises for its non-union staff.

The Executive Branch managerial raises canceled Monday had been approved by the governor’s budget chief on Dec. 18. State employees with a “satisfactory performance” rating were to receive 3 percent raises, and those with a first-time rating of “needs improvement” were to receive 1.5 percent.

The raises for the 1,950 eligible, non-union staff were expected to cost the state $2.7 million for the remainder of this fiscal year and $10 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Those scheduled to get raises were in administratively appointed positions and do not include Judicial Branch employees, who still are slated to get raises Friday. Unionized state employees and legislative staff received pay raises earlier this fiscal year, and these raises for non-union staff “would have given managers parity,” Durand and Barnes wrote.

The Malloy administration is in negotiations with about 30 union bargaining units that represent state employees, whose existing contracts expire in June. The governor has said his administration is asking everyone, including state employee unions, to recognize the sluggish Connecticut economy. One of the largest state employees’ unions on Monday launched a new television commercial that features workers from SEIU, District 1199, describing the services they provide to their communities.

“I am not a budget cut. I am not a line item. I am not a political football. I am not a dollar amount,” various state workers take turns saying throughout the commercial.

Connecticut’s finances were dealt a major blow last week when the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis downgraded projected income tax receipts by hundreds of millions of dollars for this fiscal year and next.

The new report from the Office of Fiscal Analysis, coupled with earlier projections, now means:

  • The current fiscal year’s budget could be as much as $266 million in deficit.
  • The original budget for 2016-17, adopted last June, now is almost $900 million out of balance, and Malloy’s proposal to adjust that plan is $340 million out of balance.
  • And since projected revenue reductions for 2016-17 generally are assumed to continue into the next biennial budget, legislators from both parties acknowledged the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years each now faces a built-in shortfall topping $2 billion.