Journal Inquirer, Nov. 17, 2011

By Ed Jacovino

HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy hasn’t met a target he set as a candidate for hiring women to high-level positions in state government, according to a study released by a women’s advocacy group.

Malloy, a Democrat, filled about 34.4 percent of the top 75 positions — or about 26 people — in his administration with women, according to the report by the legislature’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and the Connecticut Government Appointments Project. That’s about 3 percentage points fewer women than in Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s administration, the group said.

The report considered commissioners and deputy commissioners in state government. Malloy had pledged as a candidate to do his best to appoint women to at least half of those posts. The other two gubernatorial candidates also signed on to the project.

“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,” Teresa C. Younger, executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, said. “It’s our belief that the people who lead state agencies should more accurately reflect the make-up of those they serve, 51 percent of whom are women.”

Here’s how the Malloy appointees break down, according to the report:

• 32 percent of agency commissioners and other department heads are women.

• 38 percent of deputy commissioners are women.

• Of Malloy’s cabinet of top advisers, four of five are men.

• 50 percent of Malloy’s staff and 50 percent of Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman’s staff are women.

The group said in a release that its goal was to increase the ranks of women in high-level appointments to agencies, not among Malloy’s advisers or in the governor’s office. It had presented Malloy with the resumes of 60 women qualified to work in those posts, including public health Commissioner Dr. Jewell Mullen and Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz.

Other women heading government agencies under Malloy are economic development Commissioner Catherine Smith, motor vehicles Commissioner Melody Currey, and veterans affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz.

Malloy’s office said today that the report left off two appointments of women: Deborah Heinrich, the nonprofit liaison, and Jeanette DeJesus, a special adviser on health care.

“The governor is extremely pleased with the caliber of appointments he’s made since taking office,” Colleen Flanagan, a Malloy spokeswoman, said. “One of the reasons the state is doing more with less is because Governor Malloy has put together an administration that is tough, talented, committed to change, and diverse. Going forward, the governor will continue to be mindful of the importance of having a diverse administration.”