Monthly Archives: September 2011

Komline vacates leadership post

Citing differences of opinion with House Minority Leader Don Turner, Rep. Patti Komline, a key figure in the Republican caucus since arriving under the Golden Dome in 2005, has left her role as assistant minority leader.

Komline, a Dorset Republican, served as leader of the minority caucus during Gov. James Douglas’ last term in office. Turner assumed the top spot last year, and Komline agreed to stay on as assistant.

Komline confirmed Friday that she’s leaving the leadership post, in part due to differences with the caucus leader.

“Don and I had difference visions for the direction to take the caucus in,” Komline said.

Komline said politics isn’t the only reason for the departure (she’ll continue to serve as a representative). She’s taken a new position overseeing a disaster-relief initiative administered by the Stratton Foundation.

Komline, whose district is situated nearby some of the worst-hit parts of the state, says the Irene-relief effort has suppressed her appetite for partisan politics.

“Partisan politics is important, and we need people doing that, but it’s just not where my focus is right now,” Komline says. “My focus now is on figuring out how to help families who have been devastated by this tragedy.”

Salmon hearts Romney

Mitt Romney made it official here Thursday when he submitted the petition needed to appear on the Republican presidential primary ballot in September.

A press release from Romney’s camp announcing the news included a written statement from the former Massachusetts governor.

“I am proud to have the support of so many respected elected officials and leaders in Vermont,” Romney said. “I look forward to working with them to spread my pro-growth message and get America working again.”

He’s amassed an impressive list of supporters, especially for so early in the primary cycle. Among his fans is Tom Salmon, who announced last week that he’ll seek reelection to the auditor’s post.  

“Mitt Romney has a record of creating jobs as governor and has unparalleled knowledge of how the economy works from 25 years in the private sector,” Salmon said in the release. “He is the best candidate to lead our country toward an economic recovery and that is why Vermont voters will support him.”

Romney has won the loyalties of nearly the entire minority caucus in the Vermont Senate, with votes of confidence from Bill Doyle, Randy Brock, Peg Flory, Vince Illuzzi and Kevin Mullin.

You can check out the full list of Romney supporters below:

 

Vermont Elected Officials And Leaders Endorsing Mitt Romney

 

  • State Auditor Tom Salmon
  • Senate Minority Leader William Doyle
  • State Senator Randy Brock
  • State Senator Peg Flory
  • State Senator Vince Illuzzi
  • State Senator Kevin Mullin
  • State Representative and Former Vermont Republican Party Chairman Joe Acinapura
  • State Representative Gregory Clark
  • State Representative Howard Crawford
  • State Representative Dustin Degree
  • State Representative Eileen Dickinson
  • State Representative Peter Fagan
  • State Representative Mike Hebert
  • State Representative Robert Helm
  • State Representative Robert Lewis
  • State Representative Linda Myers
  • State Representative Gerald Reis
  • State Representative Vicki Strong
  • Wendy Wilton; Former State Senator and Rutland City Treasurer
  • Steve Larabee; Former State Representative and former Vermont Republican Party Chairman
  • Thomas Lauzon; Barre Mayor
  • Chris Roy; Former Republican Candidate for Secretary of State
  • Tim Haywood; Chief of Staff to former Governor Jim Douglas
  • Jim Barnett; Former Vermont Republican Party Chairman
  • Jack Lindley; Former Vermont Republican Party Chairman
  • Allen Martin; Former Vermont Republican Party Chairman
  • Bradford Broyles; Rutland County Republican Chair
  • Ken Copp; Essex County Republican Chair
  • Dr. Bill Minsinger; Orange County Republican Chair
  • Dan Riley; Bennington County Republican Chair
  • Hugh Tallman; Lamoille County Republican Chair
  • Leo Valliere; Washington County Republican Chair and former State Representative
  • Chuck Wilton; Rutland County Republican Finance Chair
  • Lenny Barclay; Londonderry Town Republican Chair
  • Don Bostic; Saint Johnsbury Town GOP Chair and former State Representative
  • Del Cook; Brandon Town Republican Chair
  • Lawrence Daley; Peru Town Republican Chair
  • Joe DeFreitas; Bethel Town Republican Chair
  • Dawn Hill-Fleury; Essex Town Republican Chair
  • Cliff King; East Montpelier Town Republican Chair
  • Bruce Lonergan; Bennington Town Republican Chair
  • Eric Osgood; Johnson Town Republican Chair
  • Mike Lannon; Rutland City Republican Chair
  • Don Trachte; Sandgate Town GOP Chair
  • Harry Jay; Williamstown Town GOP Chair
  • Patricia Morale; Secretary of the Pittsford Town Republican Party
  • John Kleinhans; Former Vermont College Republican President
  • Buddy and Jackie Barnett; State Central Committee
  • Marilyn Childs; State Central Committee
  • Ron Meroli; State Central Committee
  • Bob and Pat Nowak; State Central Committee
  • Ann Valliere; State Central Committee
  • John and Carol Wu; State Central Committee
  • Lynn Lindley; Montpelier City Committee
  • J. Paul Giuliani; Montpelier City Committee
  • Michael Bertrand; Volunteer Vermont Counsel, Romney for President, Inc.
  • Darcie Johnston; Johnston Consulting, Inc.
  • Mark Snelling; President of Snelling Center for Government
  • Rick Cochran
  • Jack and Kim Kane

Elder statesman Mallary dead at 82

BROOKFIELD — Richard Mallary, the farmer-legislator who climbed Vermont’s political ranks all the way to the U.S. House of Representatives, died at his home Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 82.
During a political career that spanned four decades, Mallary came to personify a Yankee Republicanism that straddled ideologies.
Colleagues and friends on Wednesday remembered Mallary as a fiscal conservative whose party loyalties during the Watergate scandal cost him political capital back home.
But arguably his most enduring legacy, they say, is as the socially liberal Republican whose vote for civil unions in 2000 helped lead the controversial measure through the Statehouse.
“He was a man who put the interests of this state and all Vermonters ahead of party politics, a commitment reflected in his support of civil unions that was key to passage of the important legislation,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a statement. “Dick’s passing is a loss for Vermont, and particularly for those of us who respected him and considered him a friend.”
A native of Springfield, Mass., Mallary left his Bradford dairy farm in 1961 to begin the first of what would be four terms in the Vermont House of Representatives. He became a key figure in the “Young Turks,” an alliance of liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats who spearheaded a progressive legislative agenda that included the abolition of the poll tax.
“Dick was a problem solver who had the needs of Vermonters at his very core,” said House Speaker Shap Smith. “He was someone who would put aside partisan politics to do the right thing, and he will be missed.”

Continue reading

Vt. Dems in attack mode after McDonald comments

MONTPELIER – The Vermont Democratic Party has both barrels blazing as it responds to recent comments from state Republican Party Chairwoman Pat McDonald, and its doing all it can to link the state GOP to the Republicans in Washington, D.C

McDonald issued a news release last week that criticized Gov. Peter Shumlin's handling of the economy before Tropical Storm Irene caused major flooding in the state on Aug. 28. She also outlined a five-point plan to “get Vermont back on track quickly” after the flood, a plan that called for education finance reforms and a rejection of new taxes to pay for the recovery, among other things.

She also called for a freeze on non-essential, non-Irene spending.

Later, she told Vermont Public Radio there were “legitimate discussions to be had” about how the country funds disaster aid – a reference to the fight over budget offsets U.S. House Republicans were seeking to pay for disaster spending.

The Vermont Dems have pounced, issuing a news release Tuesday and another one Wednesday taking McDonald to task.

They're using McDonald's apparent endorsement of budget offsets for disaster aid to try to make as close a link as they can between the state GOP and the U.S. House Republicans, who have been less-than-forthcoming with disaster cash.

The Vermont Republican Party has embraced the extremist partisan agenda of the Tea Party movement in response to Tropical Storm Irene,” Tuesday's attack began.  

From the latest attack issued Wednesday:

“Just like their Tea Party colleagues in Washington, the Vermont GOP leadership is intent on pitting people against each other for their own political gain,” Jake Perkinson, Vermont Democratic Party Chairman, said in a written statement.

Are the Vermont Dems taking free on-air advice from Eric Davis, the retired Middlebury College political science professor and frequent political commentator? The day before the Vermont Dem's attacks started, Davis told VPR that a link between the Vermont GOP and the U.S. House Republicans could hurt the party in the state.

If the Vermont Republican Party's leadership is seen in any way as supportive of what the House Republicans are doing in Washington, that could be very damaging for the Republican Party brand in Vermont in the next cycle,” Davis said. 

- THATCHER MOATS

Ready, fire, aim: VPIRG scales back critique of Shumlin’s energy plan

What a difference four hours and three minutes can make.

The first e-mail blast from the Vermont Public Interest Research Group sent out last Friday offered a scathing assessment of parts of Gov. Peter Shumlin's comprehensive energy plan, which has been in the works for months. A draft of the energy plan was released recently and is open for public comment.

The first e-mail — an attempt to rally the VPIRG troops – began with the subject line: "Really? This is what we waited for?" The e-mail focuses on Shumlin's renewable energy goals, which VPIRG argued are lame and would  — if realized — amount to slower renewable energy development than Vermont saw under the Douglas administration. Ouch.

Just over four hours after the first e-mail blast came a second. This one was titled: "Correction: Too harsh, good plan" and went on to accentuate the positive, while making note of the plan's "weak" bits.

Shumlin's advisor Alexandra MacLean called to complain about VPIRG's message, but VPIRG's James Moore said they were planning a second e-mail anyway and the blow-back isn't what prompted E-Mail 2.

“Yeah, they called us, but we were already in the works,” said Moore.

Moore argued the two e-mails don't mark any change in VPIRG's position; just a change in tone.

Note the contrast:

EMAIL 1, 11:47 a.m. on Friday from VPIRG's Ben Walsh (minus annoying embedded web addresses):

Tell Governor Shumlin we need to move faster on renewable energy, not slower! 

After more than 6 months of anticipation and hard work put forth by Vermonters all across the state, the Shumlin Administration’s comprehensive energy plan was released last week. Parts of the plan are
visionary but we need action, not just vision. Shockingly, the plan promotes slower clean energy adoption than we saw happen under the Douglas administration.*

We need to take advantage of this opportunity and ask the Governor to call for immediate action!

The administration’s goal of 90% renewable electricity, heating and transportation by 2050 is a visionary, ambitious long-term target, but we know Vermonters want to secure their clean energy future today, not tomorrow. That’s why VPIRG is calling for an 80% renewable electricity standard by 2025 to jumpstart our progress.

Our combination of natural resources and local businesses means Vermont is in a perfect position to become a national leader in creating a clean energy economy, but to make that happen substantial change in the electricity sector must come sooner rather than later.

Click here to push Governor Shumlin to pursue bold short-term progress to achieve his long-term vision.
Vermont’s future depends on the choices we make today.

Having this kind of direct input in our state’s energy future is rare, and we need to take advantage of this chance to secure a clean energy economy for generations of Vermonters still to come. This energy plan was a collective effort between Vermont’s government, businesses and citizens; let’s make sure that the public interest gets the last word.

Tell the Governor and the Department of Public Service that we need specific, ambitious action now to put us on the right path TODAY.

Thanks for your hard work and dedication,

Ben

P.S. Don’t forget to join us for the Moving Planet climate rally in Montpelier tomorrow (Saturday, September 24, starting at 2 pm).  FYI –Senator Sanders will be speaking after 5:30 pm on the statehouse lawn (not 3:30 pm as noted in our email Monday).

*Really. Since 2005, Vermont utilities have signed up for 13% of their electricity to come from new renewable projects by 2013. That is 1.6% new per year. The Shumlin plan is only calling for 1.1% new renewable electricity per year. :-(

EMAIL 2, 3:50 p.m. on Friday, from Moore:

Earlier today we sent you an email about the Governor’s new energy plan. We missed the mark with the email.

So I want to be very clear. We are thrilled to have a comprehensive energy plan that shows real vision for where this state can and should go to create a clean energy legacy for our kids, reduce our dependence on oil and put Vermonters to work. It has been a long time since we had a real energy plan for the state, any plan.

There are parts of the plan that we feel are weak, like the renewable energy requirements. We hope those parts of the plan will be improved as it is refined.

Please do comment on the plan http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=%2FFbChFwnGwH74KH7%2FO%2F2LpxbqS9%2FbeiV to make it even better and know that we are
starting from a strong draft plan.

Have a great weekend,
James

Green Mountain Care Board sets first meeting

The Green Mountain Care Board will meet for the first time Oct. 4, but the panel isn't planning to solve the large health care riddles on its first day.

"The meeting will be largely devoted to organizational and personnel matters and questions related to the responsibilities of the Board under Vermont Act 48 of 2011," according to a news release announcing the meeting.

You've got to start somewhere.

The board is an outgrowth of Act 48, the landmark health care law that is a first step on what Gov. Peter Shumlin and many lawmakers hope will be a single-payer health care system.

The board will play the lead role in designing the benefits package and the method for paying for it.

The first meeting is at 1 p.m. at the BISCHA offices in Montpelier.

This Week in Vermont Politics: Partisanship rises again

Partisan politics have been on something of a hiatus since Aug. 28, when elected officials, along with the rest of the state, turned their attention to the human toll exacted by Tropical Storm Irene. Democrats, Republicans and Progressives went as far as to issue joint press releases pledging unity and cooperation in the face of adversity.
With November 2012 just over a year away, however, it was only a matter of time before major parties resumed their public posturing. Less than a month after the catastrophic flooding, that time appears to have come.
Friday brought us the cycle’s first major electoral announcement in the form of a press release from State Auditor Tom Salmon who, after having discounted a reelection bid in July, decided he’ll run for a fourth term after all. Irene herself, the Republican tells us, is responsible for the turnabout.
In a release titled “Irene is a game changer,” Salmon says “serving as auditor is his best contribution to the state’s well-being.”

Continue reading

Salmon says he wants to ‘continue as state auditor’

State auditor Tom Salmon, who previously has said he would run for governor against Peter Shumlin if other top Republicans did not, announced Friday that Tropical Storm Irene is a "game changer" that makes him want to remain auditor.

In a letter that began "Dear Vermonters," Salmon wrote: "During the past six months, I have talked with hundreds of Vermonters and consulted with my family about how I can best serve the state of Vermont in the coming years. I have examined a number of options, but the impact of Irene on Vermont helped me to understand that the best way for me to serve Vermont is to continue as state auditor."

His news release said "that serving as auditor is his best contribution to the state's well-being."

The news release and the letter don't actually say directly that he's going to run again for auditor; they just repeatedly say he wants to "continue." But what else can that mean? The news release says a formal announcement is pending. A call to Salmon was not immediately returned.

Here's the news release followed by the letter:

From: Tom Salmon [mailto:thomas.m.salmon@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 4:07 PM
To: bfsalmon@yahoo.com
Subject: Salmon Announcement: Irene is a game changer

MONTPELIER – State Auditor Tom Salmon, CPA, today announced that serving as auditor is his best contribution to the state's well-being.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 prompted Salmon to run for public office believing that government could do a lot better at coordinating, collaborating and solving public problems with improved
intergovernmental strategy and communication.

He said he has reflected on the daunting task facing Vermonters in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene and the enormous task of reconstruction and rebuilding. In addition to other demands for overall stability, he said he firmly believes that he must serve Vermont in a capacity aligned with
the overall mission of strengthening Vermont in every way and as quickly
as possible.

While this may take a long time, Salmon said he is willing to commit his services to the people of Vermont and believes that he and his staff can make a difference.

The auditor recently testified Washington, D.C., to the president's Office of Management and Budget and has been working closely with the Office of the Inspector General regarding recovery oversight and FEMA requirements. He said he is passionate about improving government performance and the relationship between federal, state, and local entities.

A more formal announcement will come at a later date.

Letter from State Auditor Tom Salmon to Vermonters

September 23, 2011

Dear Vermonters,

During the past six months, I have talked with hundreds of Vermonters and consulted with my family about how I can best serve the state of Vermont in the coming years. I have examined a number of options, but the impact of Irene on Vermont helped me to understand that the best way for me to serve Vermont is to continue as state auditor.  

I was inspired to enter public life after seeing first-hand the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as a Navy (Seabee) reservist. That experience pointed out to me the importance of an effective government.

Today, as I look at Vermont in the wake of Hurricane Irene, I see Vermonters, already struggling with the burdens of a slow moving economy, knocked off their feet by the devastation of Irene. I see town
governments and the state government working hard to make both emergency and long-term repairs to Vermont’s infrastructure. I see Vermonters working together to rebuild and to improve their lives and the lives of their neighbors.

As state auditor, I know I can play an important role in rebuilding Vermont after the tragedy of Irene and the effects of the long recession. I am proud to have served two terms as state auditor and I’m
grateful for the talented and dedicated staff I have working with me.

I am passionate about improving government performance and improving the relationship among federal, state, and local governments. These relationships will all be critical to improving the quality of life for all Vermonters in the coming months and years.

My office and I are working closely with state and local officials, as well as the Office of the Inspector General on recovery oversight and FEMA requirements. We will continue our ongoing work with towns and state government to improve government performance, transparency and
accountability to the people of Vermont.

I am very optimistic about Vermont’s future. During this recent crisis, Vermonters have demonstrated that they are resourceful, hardworking, and the best neighbors you can have.

I look forward to continuing to serve Vermont in the future as state auditor.

Sincerely,
Tom

Thomas M. Salmon CPA
Vermont State Auditor

 

 

Education guru preaches revolution at Burlington teacher conference

BURLINGTON – Reknowned worldwide for his provocative theories on education, Ken Robinson, whose lectures have been viewed by more than 200 million people in 150 countries, called on Vermont teachers and students Thursday to become leaders in a pedagogical revolution.
Robinson, who won acclaim globally when online videos of his TED Conference lectures went viral, warned about 800 teachers, students, principals and other educational leaders of “the other climate crisis” facing the world.
During his hour-long speech at the Ira Allen Chapel on the campus of the University of Vermont, Robinson said the country’s one-size-fits-all approach to schooling is destroying human minds in much the same way climate change threatens natural resources, “and with the same disastrous consequences.”
“We’ve industrialized ourselves the way we’ve industrialized the productions process,” said Robinson, who was born and raised in Liverpool and now lives in Los Angeles, Calif.
“When (education) stops being personal, people get out of it,” he said. “And when politicians say we can’t personalize it for everyone, we can’t afford it, my answer is, we can’t afford not to. Because it won’t work otherwise.”
Robinson’s lecture kicked off a daylong education conference that aims to bring new energy to the so-called “transformation” process kicked off by state education officials three years ago.
Commissioner of Education Armando Vilaseca, on hand for Thursday’s events, said his department is working to realize the “customized, personalized” approach to education that Robinson championed.
“It doesn’t have to be about kids schlepping from classroom to classroom for four years anymore,” Vilaseca said. “We can create personalized curricula that tap into the passion of an individual child, and that’s how we get our kids to realize their potential.”
Chuck Scranton, head of the Rowland Foundation, which sponsored the conference, said his organization is eyeing a “bottom-up” approach that looks to individual teachers – as opposed to systemic reforms – to initiate a “revolution” in teaching.
“Transformation in education is improving student performance by making schools more relevant and learning more authentic,” Scranton said. “I think today is a huge catalyst for us as an organization.”
Since 2009, the Rowland Foundation, a Londonderry-based nonprofit endowed by its family namesakes, has awarded $100,000 grants to 17 Vermont teachers. The aim, Scranton says, is to give them the time and resources they need to pursue an educational innovation, and then integrate their ideas into the public school system.
“This is about changing the way people think about teaching,” Scranton said. “It’s about changing the way children think about learning.”
Vilaseca said proposed changes in curriculum standards will give teachers the structural flexibility they need to pursue classroom innovations. For instance, Vilaseca said, students will soon be able to earn core credits for internships or other real-life experiences conducted outside the walls of their high school.
“High school doesn’t have to look the way it did when I was in school,” Vilaseca said. “All learning doesn’t have to happen inside those four walls. And the learning that does happen there can be happening in different ways.”

-Peter Hirschfeld | Bureau Chief

Vermont Disaster Relief Fund has $1M, but is waiting to dole it out

MONTPELIER – The Vermont Disaster Relief Fund, which will be run by a board of gubernatorial appointees and aid agencies, has raked in over $1 million in donations to help Vermonters affected by Tropical Storm Irene.
But the fund is still getting off the ground, so money is not yet being sent to struggling residents.
“It’s hard to say to people this isn’t ready yet,” said MaryEllen Mendl, the director of Vermont 211, one of the agencies that will administer the fund.
The fund’s bank account was set up just days before Irene struck the state on Aug. 28. The May flooding was the impetus for the fund, which was originally created by the United Ways of Vermont, the executive board of the Vermont Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, and Vermont Emergency Management, said Mendl. Because it was months after the flooding in May that the fund was even loosely established, Mendl said, it became clear it was going to be most effective for future disasters.
“We were really building it for the future,” she said. “We just never realized how quickly the future was going to come.”
The money is one of several pots of donations compiled from across the country to help Vermonters recover from the historic damage the Aug. 28 flooding left behind.
It is also one of the largest funds and is closely affiliated with state government.
The donations have come from individuals and corporations. Vermont Public Radio raised more than $600,000 for the fund, said Mendl, the largest single chunk of money.
A surprising number of donations – and accompanying messages – have come from Louisiana, a state that received a flood of donations after Hurricane Katrina, said Mendl.
“It’s heartwarming to read these notes,” she said.
Though about $1 million has been pledged to the fund, not all the money has hit the bank account yet, said Mendl. Funds likely won’t be available until after Oct. 31, which is the deadline to register for FEMA, she said.
This money is designed to meet needs left unfulfilled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, insurance companies and other groups, she said, and it is focused on individual Vermonters rather than businesses, nonprofits or people with damaged second homes.

The campaign that is(n’t)?

While we were researching a story on a consulting company founded by former Lt. Governor Brian Dubie, the web site associated with the company disappeared from the web.If you go to www.dubiesolutions.com, it no longer shows up. But here's what the site looked like on Monday:

Dubie solutions

Vermont Republicans have been waiting for Dubie to make a decision: To run, or not to run? 

For the full story in the Times Argus, click here.

 

Waterbury tells Shumlin: Keep the state offices here

WATERBURY – Gov. Peter Shumlin visited Waterbury to tour flood damage Thursday afternoon.

While Shumlin's message to the people whose businesses and homes were damaged was to keep smiling, Waterbury officials had a different message to try and hammer home.

State Representatives Rebecca Ellis and Tom Stevens made sure to stress how important the state complex is to the economic health of the community in response to rumors the state may relocate the hundreds of employees that work there.

-Jenna Pizzi

Fisher named new Health Care Committe Chair

MONTPELIER – Rep. Michael Fisher was named the new chairman of the House Health Care Committee on Thursday, putting him in position to play a lead role as the lawmakers and the governor continues their effort to establish a universal health care system.

House Speaker Shap Smith appointed Fisher because the chairman of the committee, Rep. Mark Larson, resigned from the Legislature in August to become commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access.

Fisher, a Democrat who represents Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro, has served in the Legislature since 2001 and was vice chairman of the House Health Care Committee in the most recent session when lawmakers and Gov. Peter Shumlin passed a landmark health care reform bill.

Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, a Democrat from Bradford, will become the committee's vice chair.

Fisher, a social worker in Addison County, said he is excited to advance the state's health care reform effort.

“Reducing health care costs and improving access to quality care is vital to the health and economic well-being of the state, and I am confident in the ability of the committee to dig into that work,” he said in a news release.

- Thatcher Moats

Vermont highway damage $300-$500 million, Searles says

MONTPELIER – Damage to the state highway system from tropical-storm flooding could hit $500 million, state officials told lawmakers this morning. And the cost to repair damage on municipal transportation infrastructure "is going to be huge, " according to Secretary of Transportation Brian Searles.

Preliminary damage estimates for state highways alone will likely fall somewhere between $300 million and $500 million, Searles said during a briefing to a panel of legislators.

That doesn't include the cost to fix municipal roads, where Irene inflicted similarly widespread devastation. As of yesterday, there were 1,128 road segments with some damage on the municipal system, and 207 of them remain closed, Searles said. There are another 132 damaged bridges, 77 of which are closed.

"There's a growing magnitutude of this storm damage that we can’t fully explain yet," Searles said.

State workers kept idle – temporarily – over double-time pay fears

MONTPELIER — Concerns over labor contracts may have prolonged the idling of state workers whose Waterbury offices were rendered uninhabitable by flooding nearly two weeks ago.
Unionized employees have in some cases been barred from working from home — even if they want to. Human Resources Commissioner Kate Duffy said Thursday that the administration was reluctant to approve work-at-home arrangements until it had legal clarification around a provision in the union contract that guarantees workers double pay for working in “emergency” situations.
State workers displaced from their offices are still being paid.
“There were a number of questions that we had to assess before we were comfortable making certain decisions,” Duffy said. “I’ve now become more comfortable about how we’re defining an emergency, and whether or not double-pay would apply.”

Continue reading