Residents react to Malloy staff raises

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Some people who work for Governor Malloy are also expecting a little more ‘green’ in their checks in the new year.

The administration announced some big raises shortly before Christmas. The Governor says the biggest are for folks who did not get any raises for the last four years, and deserve them. Plenty of other folks say that in this economy, lots of deserving people are going without raises.

“We need to make sure we have people that are well and fairly compensated in their positions,” said Governor Dannel Malloy in a press conference Monday. He was defending the news that two hundred members of his administration were getting raises in the new year.

The first we heard about the raises was when Malloy’s budget director, Ben Barnes, put out a brief statement on December 23rd that read, in part: “For the last four years, most appointed officials have not seen their salary change as they have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Connecticut families.” In other words, after 4 years without raises, people deserve them. So we asked folks on the New Haven green when was the last time they got a raise?

“Oh, it’s been forever,” said Jeannie Lage of New Haven.

“Well last year I got one point something percent,” said Reggie Simmons of New Haven. “I’m on Social Security.”

“It’s been years,” said Jasmine Almeida of New Haven. “I think it’s only when minimum wage goes up. That’s about the only time I get a raise.”

Well, she’s in luck. The state minimum wage is going up about five percent Thursday.

Those two hundred employees of the Malloy administration are getting raises ranging from 3-percent to 12-percent. The timing of the announcement is raising some eyebrows. This is the time of year when people are focused on decorations and gifts and parties and families, so it’s the time of year when some public officials release information that they may not want covered all that much in the news.

When asked if that was the case for these raises, Governor Malloy simply said that before December 23rd, no one had asked him about his plan to give raises.’

“I had press conferences and was available to the press on a daily basis,” Malloy said “No one ever asked.”

“People work hard for their money, they have kids, you need a raise every year at least,” said New Haven resident Naomi Murray.

That’s the argument for the raises, but they will cost taxpayers $1.4 million, and the state faces projected budget deficits of a billion dollars for the next two fiscal years.

“I really don’t think it’s the right time,” said Jeannie Lage. “We have too many other problems right now”

Commissioners who joined the administration at the beginning four years ago got 12-percent raises, those who just recently joined got no raises, everybody else got something around 3-percent a year. The biggest raise was for the OPM secretary, Ben Barnes he’ll make about $22,500 more next year.

To see the old salaries, percent increase, and new salaries of top Malloy appointees, click here.

To see the 2013 salaries of all state government employees, click here.

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