Fasano taps Yelmini to help with GOP labor agenda

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano comments on Tuesday's special session.

Claude Albert / CtMirror.org

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano.

The Senate Republican leadership has hired Linda Yelmini of Windsor, chief labor relations official for five administrations until her awkward departure from government under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy late in 2014, as a part-time consultant and legislative researcher.

Yelmini’s hiring foreshadows an anticipated push by Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano of North Haven to intensify efforts to tighten state employee benefits and reduce long-term labor costs.

“When facing challenging economic times and exploding budget deficits, Connecticut leaders need to consult with people who understand specific parts of the state budget inside and out. Linda Yelmini is one of those people,” Fasano said. “Ms. Yelmini knows more about Connecticut’s state employee contracts than most people in state government.”

Yelmini served in the state Office of Policy and Management’s Office of Labor Relations from 1987 through 2015, and served as its director for the final 18 years.

A former commissioner and deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Safety — which now is part of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection — Yelmini also served in state government as a member of the State Employees Retirement Commission.

As head of the labor relations office, Yelmini was responsible for negotiating labor contracts and retirement agreements.

“I believe her expertise and 28 years of experience will be a benefit to the taxpayers of Connecticut as Republican lawmakers look to identify ways to get state spending under control without placing further burdens on Connecticut families and with the goal of avoiding further state employee layoffs,” Fasano said. “She will continue to serve as a neutral arbitrator on a number of arbitration panels which demonstrates both her knowledge of labor relations matters and fair-mindedness.”

Yelmini, who served under Govs. William A. O’Neill, Lowell P. Weicker Jr., John G. Rowland and M. Jodi Rell, was part of Malloy’s administration from 2011 through late 2014.

She was laid off in November 2014, challenged the dismissal as illegal, and received a $325,000 settlement from the state.

As part of that agreement, Yelmini was reinstated to her post as head of the Office of Labor Relations, and then resigned one day later.

Yelmini holds a law degree from Western New England College School of Law, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Haven, and a bachelor of science degree from the University of Connecticut.