Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) - There has been a complete reversal of fortune for 56 Connecticut State troopers laid off in August and September by the Malloy administration; they will all be rehired.
When the State Police Union overwhelmingly rejected the Governor's wage concession deal this summer it was the 56 newest members of the force who paid with their jobs.
"Last couple of weeks are just filled with uncertainty, not knowing when I'd get my job back," said Trooper Russell Cote. "It was good to get that call today."
As of Friday, 40 senior members of the State Police retired. These top-tier officers base pay is about $82,000 a year. The savings from those retirements more than offset the cost of the 56 rookie state troopers whose base pay is about $51,000 per year.
"With the retirements September 1st and October 1st of some of the longest serving members of the State Police division, we are able to rescind the layoffs of these 56 State Troopers," said Commissioner Reuben Bradford.
"I felt pretty good, it was a good feeling to finally have our jobs back," said Trooper Mike Zella. "I wanted to be a State Trooper my entire life and then we end up getting laid off, so you do the best you can."
The 56 troopers will only bring the force back to 1,086 sworn members, still well-below the state statute requirement of 1,248.
Today the commissioner would not say how many troopers are needed to insure public safety, but has commissioned a study to investigate the issue.
"When that is completed I can better answer that question," Bradford said.
The union took the Malloy adminstration to court demanding the 56 be re-instated and that the 1,248 mandate be enforced. A judge has still not ruled on that and the union wouldn't say today if they will now withdraw that lawsuit.
The Commissioner said the troopers will be brought back in two waves starting this Friday, with all troopers back by Oct. 21.
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