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Malloy Won't Fill 2,300 State Vacancies

HARTFORD, Conn. — In a plan to cut costs and streamline state government, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will not fill nearly 2,300 vacant jobs that opened up after more state workers decided to retire than was expected.

That represents about 5 percent of the state's work force.

But Malloy will refill nearly 1,000 jobs, most for front-line staff such as medical, highway maintenance and group home workers, according to a report in The Hartford Courant.

Although state commissioners had asked Malloy to refill at least 1,450 vacancies, the governor approved only 990. According to The Courant, Benjamin Barnes, the governor's budget secretary, said this saves an additional $55 million, on top of the $65 million that was agreed upon in the recent deal reached with unionized state employees.

That deal kept 1,000 executive branch positions vacant. In exchange for ratifying the agreement, which also included concessions such as wage freezes and pension changes, unionized state employees received a promise of no layoffs for four years.

"There were critics who said that would limit our flexibility. Clearly we do have flexibility," Barnes said. "Ten percent of the work force under the governor's control is vacant, and we're letting 3 percent of that get refilled in order to meet critical needs."

In March 2009, nearly 31,000 people were working in executive branch jobs. Last month, the number had been reduced to fewer than 27,000.

While that figure does not include employees who work in higher education or in judicial branch positions, Barnes indicated the total state work force will now be about 42,000, including seasonal employees. He said it had been nearly 45,000.

Jobs that will be refilled include 56 rookie state troopers laid off last summer after the Connecticut State Police Union failed to fully ratify the deal and did not receive the no-layoff protection.

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