A doctor employed at the University of Connecticut Health Center’s prison health service has left the health organization following a reprimand by the medical examining board. Dr. James O'Halloran worked at UConn for 15 years, but before even taking his state job he had a troubled record. In January, the medical examining board placed O’Halloran on probation for five years for over-prescribing controlled substances and having an affair with a female employee in his private practice. O’Halloran worked as physician for the Correctional Managed Health Care system that provides medical care to prisoners across the state. He was on leave pending the board’s decision. The board ordered that he undergo therapy and random drug testing and barred him from meeting with patients in private.
Connecticut lawmakers face high legal hurdles if they want to reform health benefits for retired state workers, according to a new study from the Manhattan Institute. A 2002 Connecticut Supreme Court decision set the precedent, ruling that retiree health benefits could not be changed when a collective bargaining contract ends. However, this precedent contradicts a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Several state union representatives spent more than half of the year working for their unions while still getting paid by the state, driving up overtime costs and putting an extra burden on the state budget. The year of 2015 contained 261 working days but Ronald J. McLellan, president of the Connecticut Employees Union Independent SEIU local 511, spent 201 of those days on union leave. He earned $111,000 in pay and fringe benefits from the state while working for the union, and continued to keep his title of lead power plant operator at Central Connecticut State University.
The sad, painful process of laying off thousands of state workers began yesterday, as a result of state tax revenues coming in "lower than expected." Amid the human cost -- both to those who will be losing jobs, and those depending on the services that some of these laid-off state employees provide -- there was one particularly galling note. In every news account, state employee union leaders denounced the layoffs in quotes bristling with righteous indignation.
In 1992, an overwhelming majority of voters approved a constitutional amendment that enshrined a spending cap in the state’s constitution. The cap was part of the deal lawmakers made with state residents with they implemented an income tax. But – after 24 years – the spending cap still has not been fully implemented. This is because lawmakers have failed to do their due diligence and define key terms in the spending cap definition.
In the face of declining tax revenues and weak job reports, state lawmakers have to decide whether or not to continue to fund Governor Malloy's controversial First Five Plus program, which is scheduled to end this year. To fund the program, the state borrows money, which it then hands out to major corporations through grants, low interest loans and tax subsidies in order to create jobs. Commissioner Catherine Smith of the Department of Economic and Community Development testified before the Commerce Committee on March 15 that the program should continue for another three years.