New Haven Register, Nov 15, 2011
By Angela Carter
HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has appointed 3 percent fewer women to high-level executive branch positions than his predecessor, M. Jodi Rell, according to a report released Tuesday by the state’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.
The commission’s Connecticut Government Appointments Project, or ConnGAP, pushes for gender parity in the state’s executive branch and looks at overall numbers of women appointed to top leadership positions.
ConnGAP found that as of Nov. 1, 32 percent of state agencies are headed by women and 38 percent of deputy positions are held by females, yet 51 percent of the people served by state agencies are women.
“Diversifying the ranks of leadership brings a wider range of experiences to the table when key policy decisions are being made,” said Teresa Younger, executive director of the commission.
“Studies have shown that having a critical mass of women in a decision-making body, whether it is a corporation or a government, helps turn the curve on systemic change needed to address issues affecting women and families.”
According to the commission, all three candidates running for governor last year signed a pledge to try to achieve gender parity. Malloy pledged to name women to 50 percent of about 75 identified high-level, paid appointments.
Women running state agencies as commissioners, secretaries or executive directors include: Jewell Mullen, Public Health; Judge Joette Katz, Children and Families; Catherine Smith, Economic and Community Development; Melody Currey, Motor Vehicles; Linda Roberts, Connecticut Siting Council; Elin Katz, Office of Consumer Counsel; Jane Ciarleglio, Office of Financial and Academic Affairs for Higher Education; Victoria Veltri, Office of Healthcare Advocate; Patricia Rehmer, Mental Health and Addiction Services; and Linda Schwartz, Veterans Affairs.
Colleen Flanagan, spokeswoman for Malloy, said the commission unintentionally omitted from the list Deb Heinrich, the state’s first liaison to nonprofit organizations, and Jeanette DeJesus, the governor’s special adviser on health care.
“The governor is extremely pleased with the caliber of appointments he’s made since taking office,” Flanagan said. “One of the reasons the state is doing more with less is because (Malloy) has put together an administration that is tough, talented, committed to change, and diverse.”
Additionally, Flanagan pointed out Karen Buffkin, undersecretary for legal affairs, “which I would argue is a top position, albeit not a deputy,” she said.
The commission cited the departments of Agriculture, Administrative Services, Education, Labor, Military, Revenue Services and the Office of Policy and Management as agencies with no women in the highest positions.
The ConnGAP report does note that the state has consolidated some agencies, and five appointments at the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities are pending.
Malloy said earlier this week that about 2,300 executive jobs would remain vacant to keep down the cost of government.