Sen. McLachlan, GOP Call For Independent Ethics and FOI Agencies (Hartford Courant)

May 28, 2015

Senate Republicans called Thursday for the state to overturn Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s plan to consolidate key watchdog agencies into a super-agency.

Sen. Michael McLachlan of Danbury said that the state’s ethics, elections enforcement and Freedom of Information agencies need to return to their previous independent status and move out of the relatively new Office of Governmental Accountability.

The agency was created at Malloy’s suggestion during his first term in office and the watchdog agencies had been independent before then.

“They should be on their own,” McLachlan said of the agencies. “They’re in this perceived quagmire of oversight by a political appointee. … It was clearly well intentioned to save money in state government.”

But Sen. Steve Cassano, a Manchester Democrat who co-chairs the committee overseeing freedom of information and other agencies, opposed the amendment because he said it would be too expensive to break up the new agency.

“This just isn’t the time to make that change,” Cassano said on the Senate floor.
The measure failed by 18 to 16 on a very tight vote with two Democratic senators absent – Sen. Gary Winfield of New Haven and Sen. Gayle Slossberg of Milford.