Month: September 2020

GOVERNOR LAMONT ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF THE STATE’S SHARED WORK PROGRAM TO HELP EMPLOYERS NAVIGATE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF PANDEMIC

MIDDLETOWN, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont announced that as companies continue navigating the impact of the ongoing, global COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Connecticut will be expanding its Shared Work program, which helps businesses in the state prevent layoffs by allowing them to temporarily reduce employee hours and use partial unemployment benefits to supplement lost wages. The program will be expanded beginning the week of October 5, 2020.

To highlight the expansion, the governor today visited Pegasus Manufacturing, a 133-year-old design and engineering firm located in Middletown that is participating in the program, which is administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor. He was joined by Labor Deputy Commissioner Daryle Dudzinski and representatives from the company.

“COVID-19 is impacting businesses all over the world, and we are committed to working with those in Connecticut to lessen the impact and keep their workers employed,” Governor Lamont said. “This program has helped many companies over the years, and expanding it will allow these workers to keep their jobs, continue earning a paycheck, and help these Connecticut-based companies grow.”

“The impact of the pandemic is felt across Connecticut, state government must find every opportunity to support businesses and the workforce,” Deputy Commissioner Dudzinski said. “Over the past six months, Shared Work has benefited more than 24,300 workers from 1340 companies, allowing them to keep their jobs and benefits during a time of economic crisis. Employers like Pegasus Manufacturing have a skilled talent pool they don’t want to lose while waiting for economic recovery. Shared Work helps them temporarily reduce overhead without risking the human capital that makes the business successful. I want to thank Governor Lamont and Commissioner Lehman for their full support of the Shared Work program.”

The Shared Work program helps employers retain a talented workforce during economic downturns. Rather than laying off the workforce – and having to recruit, hire, and train new labor when the economy recovers – Shared Work employers are able to reduce overhead by temporarily cutting hours. Their employees keep their jobs at a reduced schedule, keep their benefits, and are able to file for partial unemployment benefits for the lost wages. Employer eligibility includes companies with two or more workers that have hourly reductions within 10 to 60 percent of normal hours, provided that the lost hours are not related to seasonal separations. Shared Work runs for a maximum of six months for each employee.

In the year prior to the pandemic – from March 2019 through March 2020 – the program served 288 companies and just under 2,900 workers. Over the past six months, the program has grown to 1,340 companies with more than 24,300 participating. An early-pandemic U.S. Department of Labor decision has renewed interest in Shared Work – the federal government will reimburse the Trust Fund for unemployment costs normally charged to the employers.

Sam Simons, co-president of OEM Controls, a Shelton-based company that is participating in the program, said, “The Shared Work program is vital for OEM Controls. It enables us to keep our highly skilled workforce employed with their benefits. We’ve used this program during economic downturns and come out better and stronger – preventing layoffs and allowing us to continue the design and manufacture of our products. The Shared Work unit has been very cooperative and helpful implementing the program for us, which has helped employee morale.”

Companies interested in participating in Shared Work must apply with the Connecticut Department of Labor. For more information on the program and the application process, click here.

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Fairfield News: Bank Robbery

Police UPDATE: At 1:58pm Fairfield Police received a call from Peoples Bank located at 1160 Kings Highway Cutoff of a
Bank Robbery. The Peoples Bank Branch is located within the Stop & Shop grocery store at that location.
The suspect had fled prior to police arrival.
Officers were dispatched and upon arrival bank employees reported just minutes’ prior, a lone white
male (possibly Asian), described as approximately 5’7” wearing a blue mask and red hat walked up to
the teller window and handed over an envelope. On the envelope was a hand written note for
employees to cooperate, confirming it was a robbery. No weapon was shown and there was no evidence
of a weapon present. Bank employees complied with the suspect’s demand and the suspect fled Stop &
Shop with an undetermined amount of cash. It is believed the suspect fled in a smaller blue compact
vehicle west bound on Route 1.
There were no reported injuries. This case in under investigation and there is no further information at
this time.
Anyone with information regarding the robbery, or the suspect pictured below, is asked to please call
the Fairfield Police Detective Bureau at (203)254-4840, or Text-A-Tip to CRIMES (274637)

2020-09-30@2:12pm–#Fairfield CT– Police are investigating a bank robbery at the Stop and Shop at the circle, 1160 Kings Hwy Cutoff by a male in a red hat, blue mask who fled west on the Post Road in a light blue car.

Bridgeport News: Defunding The Police

The Bridgeport City Council will hold a press conference Wednesday, September 30th at 12:30 p.m., at 45 Lyon Terrace to announce the launch of the working team to advance the directives of Council item 130-19, “a proposed resolution committing to reallocating certain funds from the Police Department to address the
safety, security, and educational and social services needs of Bridgeport residents.”

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Fairfield News: Crash!

2020-09-29@5:11pm–#Fairfield CT– A driver lost control of his car when he hit a patch of wet leaves and went down an embankment, through two yards, smashing a fence before coming to a stop after hitting a generator outside of the home in the 1500 block of Stillson Road.

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Governor Calls For Study On Potential Retirements

HARTFORD, CT – Governor Ned Lamont announced that his administration will be conducting a study to evaluate workforce efficiency and organizational design that will prepare the state for a significant number of anticipated retirements among state employees by 2022. The goal of the project is to generate recommendations about how best to mitigate the risk of potential retirements and use the opportunity to modernize and improve how the state government provides its critical services to Connecticut residents while reducing cost. After a competitive bidding process, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) was selected to assist in completing the study and to provide recommendations to Governor Lamont and the members of the Connecticut General Assembly.

The study will be conducted in three phases, with an anticipated completion date of February 2021. The Office of Policy and Management (OPM) and Department of Administrative Services (DAS) oversee the effort and provide the necessary funding. In the 2017 bipartisan budget, the legislature directed the prior administration to hire a national consultant to help the state identify efficiency opportunities and this project will fulfill that goal.

“It has been ten years since the last time we studied our workforce, and a lot has changed over the past decade,” Governor Lamont said. “We have had two significant labor agreements, the effects of a lingering recession and slow recovery, and we are in the midst of a global pandemic and its resulting economic fallout, combined with the simple fact that our state employees are getting older and as many as 25 percent are eligible for retirement. We need to dig deep into our state agencies and learn more about what to anticipate, and how best to use this challenge as an exciting opportunity to ensure our government is serving our state as effectively as possible.”

“Starting with 2017 legislation that requested OPM secure a consultant to identify cost savings and continuing through the alarming retirement data we have received from our actuaries, it is clear and obvious we are facing the possibility of thousands of state employees retiring over the course of the next year and we need to prepare,” OPM Secretary Melissa McCaw said. “We need to be able to accurately assess and prepare for the magnitude of these potential retirements, the loss of the relevant expertise, the subsequent impact on state government, and how we can emerge stronger in the delivery of services to ensure the continuity of effective government as the next generation of leaders assumes the mantle. I look forward to working with BCG on this study and subsequent report and tackling the undoubtedly tough challenge that lies ahead.”

“The upcoming wave of retirements presents both a major risk due to the loss of knowledgeable and experienced staff, but also a significant opportunity to reengineer and improve the operations of state government,” Chief Operating Officer and Administrative Services Commissioner Josh Geballe said. “Like many governments we are well behind the times in our use of technology and modern approaches to many of the services we provide. We also know we need to evolve to attract the talent we need and increase the efficiency of our operations to be more in line with what our residents expect and deserve. This is a major undertaking, particularly during our ongoing pandemic response, and we are thrilled to have support in this effort from BCG, which proved such an important partner in helping us reopen Connecticut safely.”

The three-phase process, led by the Lamont administration with the support of BCG will entail the following:

·       Phase 1 will include analysis of executive branch agencies to identify and document the scope and magnitude of the issues related to their workforce and efficiency opportunities. Upon completion of Phase 1, gaps and opportunities will be identified and developed for further review.

·       Phase 2 will develop targeted best practices, prioritizing criteria and objectives, identifying and analyzing available choices, and testing recommendations.

·       Phase 3 will include analysis of outcomes, stakeholder feedback, and a detailed review of the information, culminating in a final report in February 2021.

This press release was made possible by:

Visit BMW of Bridgeport at: https://www.bmwofbridgeport.com/

Westport News: Dogs Allowed On The Beach

Westport, Conn. – Parks & Recreation Director Jennifer A. Fava reminds residents and visitors that from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 the following regulations will be in effect for Compo Beach.   

Animal Control Enforcement and Leash Restriction

  • Dogs are prohibited from the Pavilion, Playground and Boardwalk.
  • All dogs must be leashed in all areas of the park except in the designated off leash area of the beach south of the Pavilion, including South Beach.  Off leash regulations are posted at the entrance to the off leash area.
  • You are required by law to pick up your dog’s feces.

Violation of the above regulations subject to a fine of $77.00

Notice:  Long Island Sound Water Warning

The State Dept. of Health is advising shoreline residents that Vibrio vulnificus has been found in the water which can lead to severe infections in which the flesh around an open wound dies.  Anyone with open wounds, cuts, scrapes, have had a recent operation or has a compromised immune system is advised to stay out of the water.  This warning relates to dogs as well.

Ms. Fava said, “We hope everyone will follow these regulations and be respectful of other dogs and beach users.  We appreciate your cooperation.”

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