Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, standing in front of a bank of Rentschler Field upper-level windows overlooking Hartford and East Hartford, recounted his achievements to a roomful of local and regional economic development officials Wednesday — but added a blunt twist.
When someone asked the governor about struggling cities, he didn’t just cite all the money his administration has spent, and will spend.
“Cities have to get their act together,” said Malloy, who’s seeking re-election this year. “I did this for 14 years.”
Malloy had a somewhat easier time of it as Stamford’s mayor, since that city, alone among the Big 5 of Bridgeport, Stamford, Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury, has a vast, stable base of rich and upper-middle-class neighborhoods, not to mention Wall Street firms.
But as governor, even his critics must admit he’s had some success bringing a bit of efficiency to entrenched agencies.
“We have more than 1,000 fewer people working in state government than the day I came in,” Malloy told the gathering, organized by the state Department of Economic and Community Development. “But some of this has to be done at the local level.”
Was he suggesting staff cuts at cities and towns? No, at least not right away. Rather, he’s calling on them to find ways to be more efficient through technology and management — and therefore less dependent on the state and able to operate with fewer people.
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra proposed a budget this week with deep cuts and perhaps layoffs. Without referring to that, Malloy said, “I can look you in the eye and say I am not responsible for a single layoff at a municipality,” as state aid to cities and towns has remained stable.