By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Gov.-elect Dan Malloy tapped a state legislator on Wednesday to oversee Connecticut’s Department of Administrative Services and advise him on ways to streamline state government and consolidate agencies.
Malloy said he believes Democratic state Sen. Donald DeFronzo, a former New Britain mayor, leader of a nonprofit community action agency and a former analyst at the state Office of Policy and Management, “knows how to stretch a dollar” and will manage the agency in a more efficient manner.
Beyond running the agency responsible for personnel recruitment, fleet operations, procurement of goods and services, payroll, human resources, and printing and mailing services, Malloy said DeFronzo will be helpful to him in reshaping state government amid trying financial times.
The state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 faces an estimated deficit of as much as $3.67 billion, or about 18 percent of estimated spending.
“I need his expertise. I need his relationships within government. I need his relationships within the not-for-profit community,” said Malloy, who is set to take office on Jan. 5. “And he will be someone I will turn to on a repeated basis as we seek to reorganize government in the coming two years.”
Malloy, who is expected to present his two-year state budget on Feb. 16, said his transition staff is reviewing old auditors’ reports and looking at every state agency for possible consolidations and opportunities to reduce duplication of services. As an example, the Democratic governor-elect said he had discussions on Wednesday about ways to streamline services the state now provides to veterans
Other groups are also looking at finding efficiencies in state government. A legislative panel known as the Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes recently approved its report recommending 30 potential ways to save money by eliminating functional overlaps and other redundancies among state agencies.
The panel says its proposals would save the state an estimated $228,941,015 in fiscal year 2011 and between $241,145,570 and $247,658,418 for fiscal year 2012. The commission’s report is due to the governor and legislative leaders by Dec. 31.
DeFronzo, a former co-chairman of the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee and currently the co-chairman of the Transportation Committee, said the Malloy administration will attempt to realign functions of government and eliminate unnecessary layers of government bureaucracy to save money.
“We’re not going into this looking to eliminate anyone’s job, but we are looking for efficiencies and we are looking for help from our state employees in identifying those efficiencies and finding out how we might be able to package these services a little bit more effectively for the people of Connecticut,” he said.
DeFronzo, 62, lives in New Britain with his wife Diana. The couple have two children. First elected to the Senate in 2003, DeFronzo holds a bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Connecticut.
Besides DeFronzo’s appointment, Malloy also announced on Wednesday that Colleen Flanagan will be appointed as his communications director. Flanagan, the spokeswoman for Malloy’s transition team, worked for the state
Democrats during the recent campaign. She has also worked as a press secretary for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, later becoming his national press secretary during Dodd’s presidential campaign.
Malloy also announced that Arielle Reich will be director of intergovernmental affairs and special assistant to the governor. She has worked for Malloy, the former mayor of Stamford, since 2006 _ most recently as his deputy campaign manager.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)