Connecticut governors and legislatures have been using job freezes to close state budget deficits for over a decade, as one-sixth of most government Executive Branch jobs remain vacant.
Despite state tax revenues having increased, Gov. Ned Lamont has frozen vacancies faster than his predecessor, much to the dismay of lawmakers.
With government posts being vacant, retirements increasing, and the pandemic still ongoing, unions and some lawmakers argue that a more coordinated hiring push must begin immediately.
Except for public colleges and institutions, all Executive Branch agencies have filled 25,700 of the 30,080 posts permitted in the state budget.
The 17.4 percent vacancy rate is nearly double what it was two years ago, when 9.4 percent of jobs were unfilled.
All state governments have either retired or declared written plans to retire this calendar year, before more severe pension benefit standards take effect on July 1.
Over the following two months, the number is expected to rise.
Hundreds of caregiver jobs are said to be empty after the pandemic, with more retirements on the way.
Lamont and the legislature recently approved four-year contracts with the majority of the state’s unionized workforce.
This includes annual cost-of-living rises, step increases of 2 or 2.5 percent points for all but the most senior employees, and $3,500 in bonuses this spring and summer.
Source: Journal Inquirer