Money meant to help women, infants and children in the city of Hartford is being eaten up by high employee salaries. Hartford's federally-funded WIC program, run through the city's Department of Health and Human Services, served more than 11,000 of the city’s poor in 2013, according to an audit of the program. However, the agency’s high employee pay and benefits affect the number of people the program can help. If HHS paid competitively with other non-profit organizations it could service an additional 3,300 nursing or expectant mothers.
Marc E. Fitch
Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. resigned in the wake of political outcry from a $16.8 million settlement made to four men a court concluded were wrongly convicted. While the settlement is hefty, the Connecticut General Assembly has only itself to blame. Of the nearly $40 million Connecticut made in wrongful imprisonment settlements since 2005, all the settlements but one were made in the last two years. The General Assembly made that lone settlement in 2007 for $5 million to James C. Tillman. It set a de facto standard for all future wrongful imprisonment payouts.
In 2014, Connecticut made national news coverage with some “interesting” bill proposals such as banning whole milk from daycares to fight childhood obesity and regulating the volume of movie theaters to protect people from hearing loss. Neither of these bills had any scientific backing and thankfully neither were passed. But that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from proposing a new batch of “interesting” legislation that may raise a few eyebrows. Here are some of this years’ strange offerings:
The town of Woodstock with a population of just 8,000 is giving big healthcare stipends to town hall employees who opt out of the town’s healthcare plan. Employees, including First Selectman Alan Walker Jr. and tax collector Linda Bernardi, receive stipends of $1,163 per month while getting healthcare coverage through their spouses. On an annual basis, the stipends add up to $13,956 and costs taxpayers about $98,000.
The Connecticut Commission on Economic Competitiveness held a closed-door meeting Tuesday to discuss a report on the state's economy based on work from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. The commission met at 10 a.m. and immediately went into executive session, removing all observers from the meeting. Commission Co-Chairman Joseph McGee said the executive session would allow the committee to work out all the numbers. “There is a lot of information,” he said.
In response to Gov. Dannel Malloy's planned budget cuts, the SEIU, District 1199, released a television ad Monday featuring some of its members declaring that they are “not a political football.” However, based on some of the salary and benefit packages these workers received it would appear they have already scored a touchdown.