Gov. Dannel Malloy is playing hard ball, but he's not playing games. The Democrat says his actions this week starting the process toward layoffs are not a signal that the closed-door talks with the state employee unions are stalled.
According to the Hartford Courant, preparations are being made to comply with the required eight weeks' advance notice to senior employees before any layoffs can begin. The fiscal year ends June 30. As a result, the state is laying the groundwork for possible layoffs that could begin in the next fiscal year.
Malloy says it's not a negotiating ploy. "No, that should not be the interpretation,'' Malloy said to the paper. "The interpretation is that the calendar marches on, and because of contract language, we have to be prepared to give notices should we not reach an agreement. I remain hopeful.''
Malloy is seeking $1 billion per year in savings and concessions from the unions in each of the next two years. For 1,000 layoffs, the state would save about $100 million in the first year and more in the second year of the two-year budget, according to the Courant.
Malloy would not rule out the possibility of layoffs for essential state employees, such as state police and prison guards.
"I want to be very clear that we are not taking anything off the table,'' he said.