Tag Archives: Connecticut

Ledyard Finance Committee explores repair needs, library options

Source: Sten Spinella, The Day, July 11, 2018

Ledyard — The town Finance Committee ventured out of its normal meeting space for a site visit examining the capital needs projects at the public works complex before moving to the Council Chambers to hear a presentation from Library Systems & Services. … Ingalls and Saums met fellow Finance Committee member and Town Councilor Tom Malone back at the Council Chambers to hear from Library Systems & Services, a national, for-profit social entrepreneurship company that, among other functions, can be used by municipalities to manage library systems. The company had contacted the town about possibly privatizing the town’s library system.

… Finance Committee members asked about what would happen to town employees if Library Systems & Services stepped in, possible comparisons to similar-sized markets and how, exactly, it would be better than Ledyard’s current system. … Saums said that, despite not saving money for Ledyard, Library Systems & Services implied it would have more programs and services, and that the town should “at least hear what they have to say.” The 25-plus people affiliated with Ledyard’s libraries, or simply interested in the meeting, filled the Council Chambers to standing-room-only capacity. Grumbles and whispers could be heard when the topic of layoffs came up. …Connecticut Library Association President Kate Byroade, who attended the meeting, said this is because Library Systems & Services would put forth less money than the town pays. She also said LSS wasn’t offering anything different than what Ledyard already has in place. … The Ledyard Finance Committee also will be discussing this topic further at next week’s meeting.

Workers allege criminal activity at Bridgeport Health Care Center

Source: News12, April 3, 2018
 
Enough is enough. That was the message from the union representing Bridgeport Health Care Center employees. Workers at the facility called attention to what the union alleges is criminal activity by Chaim Stern, the chief financial officer for the privately owned nursing home. Employees claim Stern has failed to pay the staff on time on numerous occasions since June 2017. … “Throughout this ordeal, Bridgeport Health Care Center workers have continued to show up, and do their jobs,” said Sharon Weller, of AFSCME Local 1522.  “That’s because they care about the residents and take pride in their jobs.” …

Family wants answers after relative dies during AMR transport

Source: Matt McFarland and Kaitlyn Naples, WFSB, January 11, 2018

A local family is demanding answers from an ambulance company. William Scanlon’s family said they have a number of questions after he died on his doorstep when he was transported home from the hospital. They say he needed oxygen to breath, but that for some reason, when an American Medical Response ambulance transported him back home Saturday morning, with temperatures hovering near zero, not only was he not hooked up to oxygen, they say the ambulance crew also made him walk. … AMR said it expects to finish up its internal investigation soon. The family said they’ve already met with a lawyer and are filing a lawsuit against the company.

New Haven Housing Authority restructuring for private investment

Source: Mary E. O’Leary, New Haven Register, January 2, 2018
 
The Housing Authority of New Haven will start issuing layoff notices on Friday as it restructures, but said there will be opportunities to seek similar jobs under a new nonprofit company it has formed.  A total of 50 people at the authority will be affected throughout 2018, according to the authority, but it plans to hire between 40 and 45 people for similar positions in a restructuring it said is needed to ensure its financial stability. … The authority already has one affiliate, the Glendower Group, which oversees its construction projects. It now has formed a second nonprofit affiliate, 360 Property Management Co., which eventually will oversee the maintenance and security of 1,300 housing units, as well as handle leasing. … DuBois-Walton said the new jobs, which are almost one for one with the current positions, will reflect private market salaries, which will be less than those negotiated by the two American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees locals representing workers. …

Old Lyme police union raises concerns over potential East Lyme merger

Source: Kimberly Drelich, The Day, December 8, 2017
 
The Old Lyme Police Department’s union is raising concerns over a potential consolidation with the East Lyme Police Department and said police officers should be part of the conversation over the town’s policing needs. “The Old Lyme Police AFSCME Local 2693 are in 100 percent agreement that the consolidation is not in the best interest of the townspeople and the police officers,” said police Cpl. Bill Zipadelli, president of local 2693, which comprises the department’s six full-time police officers. “We plan to share our concerns with the first selectman and the Board of Selectmen. It’s important for the voice of police officers to be heard and involved in any discussions regarding our future.” East Lyme and Old Lyme officials announced last summer the beginning of preliminary discussions on a proposal to create one police department for the two towns. East Lyme established an independent police force on July 1, while Old Lyme is under the state police program with a resident state trooper, six full-time officers and one part-time officer. … Larry Dorman, public affairs officer for Council 4 AFSCME, said the union doesn’t believe it’s in Old Lyme’s best interest to lose the current model of a small but dedicated police force that protects and serves the town. “There are statutory concerns, collective bargaining concerns and public safety concerns for the townspeople in Old Lyme,” Dorman said. “It just makes sense that these dedicated police officers are part of any due diligence regarding outsourcing.” … The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen is planning on forming a committee to study the town’s police services and whether or not a potential consolidation makes sense. …

A unanimous House votes for oversight bill vetoed last year

Source: Mark Pazniokas, CT Mirror, May 17, 2017
 
Connecticut’s legislators acted Wednesday for the second time in two years to require independent oversight of the millions of dollars in grants, loans, tax credits and other economic incentives extended to business, often a political flashpoint as states compete to attract and keep jobs.  With support ranging from organized labor to a conservative think tank, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve and send to the Senate an updated version of a measure Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed last year as “unnecessary and unwarranted.” … Rep. Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, the co-chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, said the bill requires the legislature’s Auditors of Public Accounts to examine the Department of Economic and Community Development’s entire portfolio of aid programs and report to the legislature. Their findings will be the subject of a public hearing every year. … The legislation addresses policy and political concerns of legislators. Questions over economic aid, especially when some of the recipients made headlines by subsequently laying off employees, had posed a political liability for some and, perhaps, an opportunity for others. …

Labor agreements impede shared services, cities say

Source: Rob Ryser, News Times, March 23, 2017
 
… The inability of willing neighbors to share services when it makes sense for both sides is part of what keeps local governments from finding more efficiencies, Boughton said, and one reason he was in the state capital this week. Boughton spoke in favor of legislation that would waive certain restrictions in municipal labor contracts when towns and cities make agreements to share services. … The bill, which was extracted from a larger report containing recommendations by the statewide Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, was the subject of public hearings this week in the state legislature’s Planning and Development Committee. … In Danbury, Boughton and the City Council have been exploring partnerships with neighboring Putnam County – a six-town region of 100,000 people across the border in New York, and with Waterbury, the state’s fifth-largest city. Neither partnership needs the legislation pending in Hartford to proceed. The agreement with Putnam County involves a potential deal to provide city sewer service to a Brewster-area commercial zone, and the potential to capitalize on mutual economic interests such as infrastructure projects, recreation initiatives and cultural events. The proposed partnership with Waterbury aims to build an economic development zone along the Interstate 84 corridor, anchored by the two cities. …

Bristol School Board, Union Agree Labor Rift Is Over

Source: Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, March 22, 2017
 
The once-bitter relationship between the school board and its unionized cafeteria workers has improved enough in the past 16 months to yield a new contract along with words of praise from both sides.  “It’s a massive turnaround from the constant conflict of previous years,” according to Chad Lockhart, president of Local 2267 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Since the 2015 election changed control of the school board, Bristol has abandoned its controversial plan to replace the cafeteria workers with a private contractor. Both sides have dropped their labor board and court fight, and recently settled on a five-year wage and benefit agreement.  “Negotiations between our board and the AFSCME union have been handled with mutual respect and professionalism,” school board Chairman Christopher Wilson said in a statement. …

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Bristol’s New Board Likely To End School Cafeteria Battle
Source: Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, November 4, 2015

Even though the labor-endorsed candidate at the top of the ticket lost, unions enjoyed a victory Tuesday when voters turned Republican school board incumbents Larry Amara and Genard Dolan out of office. Democrats won a six-to-three majority on the board after being out of power since 2011. That virtually ensures the unpopular Republican-led drive to privatize school cafeterias is dead. Democrats have warned that hiring a contractor to run the cafeterias would ultimately prove more expensive, possibly degrade service and definitely lower the value of 53 food service jobs covered by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. … Democrats campaigned on a theme that privatizing the cafeterias might jeopardize the jobs of 53 union workers — mostly middle-class mothers who reside in Bristol. And even if a private contractor kept them on, it was certain to erode the insurance benefits that cover the workers and their families, Democrats said.

Bristol Taking Next Step To Privatize School Cafeterias
Source: Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, July 9, 2015

The new school year begins in less than two months, and there’s no apparent resolution near in the dispute between unionized cafeteria workers and the board of education. The board’s Republican caucus has been trying to hire a private contractor for more than two years to take over the school lunch program, but has been locked in court and labor board fights with the union representing the roughly 50 workers who run the cafeterias. Last year, the school board signed an agreement to retain Whitsons Culinary Group to take over the cafeteria operation, but changed course after a labor board ruling in favor of the union. The schools ultimately kept their own workers on the job. Next week, however, the board is scheduled to open a fresh round of bids from contractors that want to run the cafeterias for the 2015-16 school year. The school board had sought proposals this spring, but abruptly canceled that request and issued a new request that included detailed breakdowns of how many meals are served at each school….The school board intends to receive bids through July 17….

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Lawmakers Hear Testimony Concerning Privatizing DDS Care

Source: Todd Piro, NBC Connecticut, March 8, 2017

Beverly Laporte of East Hartford worries about what will happen to her son Robbie if he is moved from his group home in South Windsor to private care. Laporte joined others at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Tuesday, testifying in front of the Public Health Committee against privatizing Department of Developmental Services care for their relatives. … At issue, of course, is money. Non-profit providers, through The Alliance, which provides a voice for community non-profits, say they can provide the highest quality of care at a fraction of the cost, saving the cash-strapped state $150 million dollars per year in residential care alone. … Some like Laporte are not convinced, arguing that because many private employees in the caregiving field are paid less than their public counterparts, there is a high turnover rate that hurts continuity of care. … Wednesday’s testimony was just one part of the larger battle that will be going on throughout the session.

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Connecticut unions say state needs to negotiate privatization
Source: Christine Stuart, New Haven Register, October 13, 2016

Two state unions representing workers at the Department of Developmental Services filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging the state can’t move forward with privatizing group homes without negotiating first with the unions. The Connecticut State Employees Association, SEIU Local 2011 and New England Health Care Employees Union District 1199 sought an injunction in Hartford Superior Court to stop the privatization from moving forward until negotiations are completed. Department of Development Services Commission Morna Murray announced in August that the state was moving forward with a plan to convert 30 group homes to private operation by Jan. 1, 2017. The agency also closed two regional centers in Meriden and Stratford. The plan is expected to save the agency $42 million in 2017 and $70 million in 2018. …

State employee unions suing to block group home privatization
Source: Arielle Levin Becker and Keith Phaneuf, CT Mirror, October 13, 2016

State employee unions plan to ask a judge to block the privatization of group homes for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, saying the layoffs caused by those changes violate Connecticut law and will eventually be blocked by the state labor board. If that happens, the unions say in their request for an injunction, clients would have their lives upended twice – first by having to go through a change in staff in state-run group homes where they have developed relationships with caregivers, and then again if the labor board orders the laid-off state employees to be reinstated. … The unions, CSEA-SEIU Local 2001 and SEIU 1199, New England, represent nearly 500 workers who are expected to be laid off because of the Department of Developmental Services’ plans to privatize the services they provide. The workers include staff at state-run group homes and institutions, and those who provide job support, education, physical and speech therapy, health care and other services to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Both unions filed a complaint with the state Board of Labor Relations earlier this week, alleging that DDS broke the law by failing to bargain with them over the decision to outsource the work. … The Malloy administration plans to privatize 40 group homes, as well as services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities – moves aimed at saving the state nearly $70 million per year by next fiscal year. Overall, the plan is expected to eliminate 605 state jobs. In an August memo detailing the plans, budget director Benjamin Barnes wrote that the state was requesting that the private providers give hiring preferences, when possible, to state employees who lose their jobs because of the changes. …

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Malloy budget would close Danbury mental health service

Source: Rob Ryser, News Times, March 2, 2017

A state-run office that helps 300 people from greater Danbury manage mental health and addiction afflictions would be closed as a cost-saving measure under the governor’s proposed budget for 2017-2018. The Danbury branch of the Western Connecticut Mental Health Network would be privatized under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget plan, saving a projected $1 million. The 39 workers at its Triangle Street location would be transferred to other offices. The proposal means that the region’s most vulnerable population would instead get needed services from charities and private-sector providers. … Malloy’s office responded that the state plans to invest $3.2 million of the Danbury network’s $4.2 million budget in private-sector services to ensure a successful transition. … Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, the commissioner of the state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, heard concerns from case managers that people served by the office would lose important state resources if the proposal is adopted by the state legislature. … The governor has also proposed privatizing a state mental health network in Torrington. …