State police protesting possible job cuts
Updated 2:02 pm, Monday, August 22, 2011
HARTFORD -- About 200 state troopers rallied Monday morning outside the Capitol to protest more than 50 planned layoffs that are part of a cost-cutting effort by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Speaking on the north steps of the Capitol, Andrew Matthews, president of the Connecticut State Police Union said that state law is already being violated because the mandated total of 1,248 sworn troopers has been ignored in recent years.
The union, which last week rejected proposed union concessions that were approved by 14 of 15 unions, is the target of 56 layoffs.
"Violent crimes against troopers is up 14 percent," Matthews told the cheering group, noting that the agency is already 150 members below the legal limit.
Troopers from Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine attended the event.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement that he will not "compromise public safet".
"To be clear, I deeply appreciate the troopers' service, as I do the service of all state employees," Malloy said in the statement. "The troopers put their lives on the line every day, and we are a safer state thanks to their service. Also to be clear: I'm sensitive to the troopers' concerns."
But, Malloy said, the State Police Union opened itself up to layoffs by rejecting the two-year wage freeze that came as part of the concessions package Malloy's office negotiated with the State Employees Barganing Agent Coalition (SEBAC).
"I have to manage the entire workfoce, and given the massive budget problems I inherited, I believe asking all state employees to take a two-year wage freeze -- in return for job security -- is fair," Malloy said.
The governor said he has faith that the state police leaders, Dept. of Public Safety Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford and Col. Danny R. Stebbins, the state police commander, can guide the state's police force without putting the public at risk.
"I'm completely confident they will manage the State Police with the resources they have without jeopardizing public safety," Malloy said. "As for whether or not the State Police Union should remain a member of SEBAC, I view that as an internal conversation between the State Police and other memebrs of the coalition."