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Letter to the Editor: Despite the Budget, Legislator Rewards Former Colleague 

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Dear Editor,

Another year, another rush to pass a budget on time. It’s so bad that the phrase “budget crisis” is hardly even front page news. But as lawmakers lament the difficulty of passing a bipartisan budget, they don’t seem to have any problem rewarding themselves for decades of fiscal mismanagement.

The latest example is former State Senator Eric Coleman who was successfully voted in as a judge by lawmakers during the final week of the legislative session. Thanks to a loophole created by legislators for legislators, Coleman can work three years as a judge and retire with a pension upwards of $110,000 per year.

Coleman would have received an annual pension of $25,000 from his time as a legislator. This means that his former colleagues effectively gave him $85,000 per year for the rest of his life. With an average life expectancy, I would estimate that this costs taxpayers over $1,000,000!

The legislators that voted in Coleman, including my opponent, Andy Fleischmann, should be ashamed of themselves. In an environment of tuition hikes for our students and cuts to services for low income seniors and the disabled, this is exactly what is wrong with our state. We need change.

Jillian Gilchrest
West Hartford

Editor’s note: Jillian Gilchrest is a candidate for State Representative in the 18th district.

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  • What is it exactly, to your way of thinking, that makes Mr. Coleman unqualified for the judgeship? Or do you just resent the fact that he already served the state?

  • The point is that this appointment was requested and granted, not for ‘love of the law’, but a way to get a better pension. Mr.Coleman has done years of service for the state of Connecticut as a legislator, the benefits and pay are well known, and now he has been ‘rewarded’ at high cost to the taxpayers.
    It’s not that he isn’t qualified (many attorneys would be, and it is usually a pay cut) it’s that it was a way of helping one of their own at our cost.
    Meanwhile, the wait list for group homes gets longer, local schools are starved. roads grow pot holes, and the list goes on. It has been well testified that there are no funds for the courtroom support staff required for Malloy’s judge flood, nor the courtroom space, let alone case load need, but the legislature ‘takes care of it’s own’…on our dime and at our expense.
    That’s the point.

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