State Employee Unions Help Lamont as They Criticize Him

Chris Powell


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Connecticut’s state employee unions may be rendering great service to Governor Lamont’s probable campaign for re-election by complaining about him. This service may be greater than their usual provision of manpower to Democratic campaigns. For their complaining suggests that the governor isn’t their tool as most Democrats are.

Last week the unions protested the governor’s recalling their members back to work at state government offices. Among other things the unions argued that by working from home they are reducing carbon emissions. Yes, the unions are always looking out for the planet first, not themselves.

Then the unions held a rally at the state Capitol complaining that in contract negotiations the governor opposes giving them raises. Since state employees kept full pay and benefits during the virus epidemic when so many others lost jobs and income, and since state employees are already paid much better than private-sector employees in similar jobs, the unions’ case for raises is less compelling than contemptible.

DISCRIMINATION DISGUISED: Political correctness would not let any male or Republican member of Congress get away with what Connecticut’s 5th District representative, Democrat Jahana Hayes, is getting away with.

The congressional research company LegiStorm reported last week that the average salary for male members of Hayes’ staff is $127,000 while the average salary of her female staff members is less than half that, $56,000. Hayes’ spokeswoman noted that this differential is not as bad as it looks, since Hayes has only one male staffer, her chief of staff, and 13 female members of lesser rank.

But the gender differential in salary isn’t most questionable here. What’s most questionable is that 93 percent of Hayes’ staff is female and only 7 percent male. Where’s the “diversity”?

Her spokeswoman says Hayes aims “to actively recruit women and minorities.” But 93 percent is far more than active recruitment.

Maybe the 93 percent really are superior people and were not hired because “active recruitment” disguises sex discrimination so well. But male and Republican members of Congress better not get caught with similar extreme disparities on their staffs. They’ll be crushed by the hypocrisy of political correctness.

PRIMARY FOR PATRONAGE: Two years ago Justin Elicker was elected mayor of New Haven, defeating the incumbent, Toni Harp, in both the Democratic primary and the general election, largely because of city property taxes. Elicker didn’t have to say much about taxes, since Harp had just raised them by 10 percent and voters needed little help to notice.

Now as Elicker seeks re-election the tax issue is being raised against him by a challenger in the Democratic primary, Karen DuBois-Walton, executive director of New Haven’s Housing Authority. With emergency money from the state and federal governments covering New Haven’s chronic deficits, Elicker hasn’t raised property taxes. But DuBois-Walton contends he should have reduced them by now.

Maybe he should have, but that would have required the mayor to reduce city employee compensation and public services, and DuBois-Walton refuses to specify which expenses Elicker should have cut. That refusal makes her a demagogue and demonstrates her lack of political courage. Of course if the mayor had cut spending to cut taxes, DuBois-Walton now would be condemning him for that instead.

DuBois-Walton is a longtime apparatchik of the city’s Democratic machine, while Elicker’s record in politics is that of an outsider. So the primary seems mainly a scrum over patronage.

FILIBUSTER PHONIES: Democrats around the country are clamoring for repeal of the U.S. Senate rule that facilitates filibustering — the mechanism by which legislation favored by the majority can be talked to death by the minority and democracy thwarted.

Meanwhile Democrats are cheering the Democratic state legislators from Texas who left the state to deny the state legislature the quorum necessary to pass Republican legislation on election procedures. But abandoning one’s office to prevent a quorum has the same purpose and effect as a filibuster — to thwart democracy.

Filibustering is one more thing that’s bad when Republicans engage in it but heroic when Democrats do.


Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Connecticut.