HARTFORD -- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday was skeptical that if given another chance to approve $1.6 billion in benefit concessions, state employee unions would be able to do it.

The governor, speaking during a brief interview in the Capitol, said he's looking for signs of possible success if the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition gets a second bite at the apple.

"I think that I'm trying to understand from them and I need to understand from them how we move forward, even if there was a clarification of the agreement," Malloy said. "The rules of approval are such that it's hard to have confidence in the process."

Malloy, in reaction to SEBAC's request Tuesday to reconvene discussions on givebacks, said he's mostly concentrating on the $700 million he has to cut from the budget that began July 1 and the $900 million in the next year of the $40-billion biennial budget.

The governor has given department heads until Friday to submit contingency plans for program cuts and staff layoffs that could total 6,600.

"Right now most of my work is being done in preparation of what we have to do to balance the budget," he said. "I don't want to lay people off, but I'm trying to understand how they would possibly approve any agreement at this point."

Malloy described the layoff procedures as active, but early in the process, because of union-related bumping rights in which senior employees would displace newcomers to state employment.

"We are getting plans in from the various departments on kind of what positions they think should need to go first, then try to understand what the bumping rights are," he said. "It's a very complicated system. We're not General Electric, or GM. You just don't draw a line and drop everybody because what happens in the course of an employees career as they move from place to place they can retain bumping rights within prior job functions, so it's a very complicated thing, but we'll get there."

While 57 percent of unionized employees approved the deal agreed upon by SEBAC executives and the governor's negotiation team, only 11 of 15 bargaining units went along. The proposal needed 14 of the 15 groups to win SEBAC approval.