Shared sacrifice? Some Malloy commissioners making lots more than what Rell was paying
Gov. Dannel Malloy talked a lot about “shared sacrifice” as he pushed through hefty tax increases, state worker concessions and spending cuts, but several of his top commissioners got sweet salary increases over what their predecessors earned under former Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
The biggest beneficiary, according to state payroll records, is Malloy’s new commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Catherine H. Smith. She’s earning $25,717 more than the last DECD head, Joan McDonald, a 17.8 percent increase that brings Smith’s pay to $170,000.
Second on Malloy’s pay chart is his new transportation commissioner, James P. Redeker, whose state salary is now $175,000 a year. (That’s a 3.1 percent raise over what the last full Department of Transportation chief, Joseph Marie, was pulling down.)
Redeker’s salary is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, because Malloy spent eight months conducting a “nationwide search” for a new DOT commissioner, only to settle for the man who’d been acting as Malloy’s interim department head. Redeker, 57, is also what’s called a “double dipper,” taking a $104,521 annual pension payment from New Jersey Transit, where he worked for 30-plus years before joining Connecticut’s DOT.
According to Malloy’s press spokeswoman, Colleen Flanagan, “The salaries offered to various commissioners were based on a combination of factors, including the salaries of their predecessors, their current salary [from their prior job] and the experience they brought to each of these positions.”
Flanagan also notes that some of these Malloy commissioners are now in charge of larger agencies resulting from state consolidations. Smith, for example, is in charge of an economic development agency that now includes the culture and tourism office and the Office of Workforce Competitiveness. (Redeker’s agency wasn’t merged with anything, and Barnes only got bits and pieces from other departments.)
“Governor Malloy is immensely pleased with the quality and caliber of those people he’s selected as commissioners,” Flanagan adds.
Some of the other winners in Malloy’s cabinet include Donald DeFronzo, head of the state Department of Administrative Services, which was partially merged with the public works agency. He’s making $160,000 annually, a 15.4 percent increase over what Rell’s DAS chief was getting.
Daniel C. Esty, is receiving $139,000 salary as head of Malloy’s newly combined environmental/energy agency, a 6.9 percent boost over Rell’s commissioner of environmental protection. And the new social services commissioner, Roderick L. Bremby, is pulling in $170,000 a year, which comes out to a 6.8 percent jump from his predecessor’s salary.
Malloy’s Democratic team also has a few salary losers when compared to Rell’s Republican administration.
Terrence W. Macy, Malloy’s commissioner of developmental services, has an annual salary of $150,000. That’s 10.7 percent less than what Peter H. O’Meara got for the job under Rell. Our new Department of Motor Vehicles chief, Melody A. Currey, took a 4.3 percent pay hit from what Robert Ward was making as Rell’s DMV commissioner. Currey’s salary is $151,000 a year.
Several of those cases involved long-serving Rell commissioners who began their service at department heads at lower salaries, which rose over time.
Pay records from the state Comptroller’s Office show that nine of Malloy’s cabinet members are making more than their Rell predecessors, six are making less, and six - several of them Rell administration hold-overs - are making the same. (This isn’t a complete listing of Malloy’s cabinet, in part because a couple of Rell’s cabinet agencies have been consolidated with other departments under Malloy, and also because the salary for Malloy’s new education commissioner, Stephan Pryor, hasn’t been determined as yet.)
Adding up the salaries of those 21 commissioners, Malloy’s annual cabinet payroll comes to at least $3.18 million a year, or about $75,000 more than Rell’s.
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