- Associated Press - Thursday, April 20, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday triggered a process that could bring another round of layoffs to state government.

The Democrat announced that his budget office has developed a “statewide workforce reduction contingency plan” in case the administration can’t reach a labor savings deal with state employees. Collective bargaining units were formally notified about the plan, a step that allows the state to begin issuing layoff notices to more than 1,000 employees in May if necessary.

Malloy said those reductions would be “a first step toward resolving” the state’s estimated $1.7 billion deficit. The state’s main spending plan is generally about $18 billion.

“We all hope that our contingency plans will ultimately not be necessary and that the structural solutions Connecticut needs can be found at the bargaining table,” he said, adding how the talks with union officials are “ongoing and constructive.”

The two-year budget he unveiled in February relied on $700 million in state employee savings in the first year. This contingency plan would result in more than $80 million in savings.

Union officials voiced concern with the administration’s announcement.

Joe Gaetano, president of the union that represents judicial marshals, said their ranks were hit hard by the last round of layoffs. More than 1,000 state employees lost their jobs in 2016.

“Further reducing the number of marshals would have a dangerous impact on public safety and on the efficient and safe workflow at the state’s 43 courthouses,” he said, urging Malloy and the General Assembly to solve the state’s budget problems without gutting state services and putting thousands of state employees out of work.

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