Process is Everything
By State Representative Vincent J. Candelora
I believe that I consciously tried to give Governor Malloy a fair shake when he first took office. Partisan politics really has no place when the election ends, and you hope that public officials will work for the betterment of the communities that they serve. Senator Meyer recently wrote a critical editorial piece on Malloy’s power grabs in Hartford. His article has hit on a theme that seems pervasive in government at every level.
Process is everything. One may disagree with the substance of the policy, but the method used must be fair. Robert’s Rules of Order and other procedural laws exist to avoid the partisan, Machiavellian approach where the end justifies the means.
In this past session, the legislature contemplated a bill that proposed unionizing personal care attendants (PCAs). These PCAs provide everyday services to individuals with physical disabilities. Under the current system, individuals can choose their PCAs because PCAs become an intimate part of their personal lives. The legislature was concerned that not only would unionization remove this personal choice from the process, but these part-time workers would become more costly for the state. The legislature rejected the proposal.
Rather than respect this process, the Governor’s office unilaterally made the decision to resurrect it through an executive order. Ironically in the same week, President Obama announced an executive order to no longer deport illegal immigrants if they have no criminal records, another policy that flies in the face of federal law. Local, state and federal governments must avoid this temptation for bending the rules in order to accomplish their goals. No matter how worthy the substantive cause, once you violate process there is no going back.
The union concession vote took the same route. Not liking the first outcome, union leadership changed the rules to effectuate the outcome that they wanted. Of course passing the package ultimately was a better outcome for Connecticut, but changing the rules midstream violated that fundamental sense of due process. I’m reminded of my childhood, when someone would change the rules to the neighborhood wiffleball game after a call was made. It usually resulted in an explosion of arguments and someone would declare the game over. It would behoove all of our local, state and federal public officials to reflect on this fundamental sense of right and wrong that we all felt as a child. The end never justifies the means. Process is everything.
Vincent J. Candelora
Deputy Republican Leader
Representing East Haven, North Branford and Wallingford