Connecticut governors and legislatures have been using job freezes to help close state budget deficits for more than a decade.
And even after state tax receipts began pouring in, Gov. Ned Lamont has frozen vacancies faster than did his predecessor — much to the consternation of lawmakers.
Now, with one-sixth of most Executive Branch jobs empty, retirements accelerating and the coronavirus pandemic still not over, unions and some legislators say a more concerted effort to hire must begin immediately.
“It is unsustainable for us to continue working 16-hour shifts in a job that is already known for being dangerous and with high rates of physical injuries and mental health stressors,” said Sean Howard, President of Local 387 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 800 correction officers and other front-line employees at the Cheshire Correctional Complex.
According to data obtained by the CT Mirror from the state Office of Policy and Management, all Executive Branch agencies — excluding public colleges and universities — have collectively filled 25,700 of the 30,080 positions authorized for them in the state budget.
The 17% vacancy rate is almost double where it stood two years ago, when 9.4% of jobs were empty.
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