HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont is facing some backlash after his administration spent an estimated $2 million to hire Boston Consulting Group to oversee the state’s reopening.
Records indicate that May 9, the group was brought in to see the strategy through June 28. The hiring was not announced to the public, and the details of the contract were not discussed or shared with legislative leaders, Senator Republican Leader Len Fasano said.
He said he was not aware of the deal until it came to light during a news briefing on Wednesday.
“We had no idea any of this was going on, and clearly, we didn’t know about a contract until after the fact,” Fasano told News 8.
“There’s a reason why there are three branches of government,” he said in a news release. “The legislature represents the voices of the people across our state. We talk to constituents every day about the real-world problems they are facing, how they are struggling to put food on the table, and the questions and concerns they have about getting back to work. We bring checks and balances to the executive branch. But instead of working with lawmakers to develop Connecticut’s strategy to get people back to work safely, the governor is contracting out our legislative authority with little transparency.”
Fasano said the agency is acting as the “control tower” during “one of the most significant issues ever to face our state.” He noted that the state is already under financial strain and did not need the extra burden, which is being paid by state or federal taxpayer dollars.
“While thousands of Connecticut residents go without paychecks week after week and small mom-and-pop businesses are either struggling or may never reopen, these consultants are making almost $250,000 per week off the state,” he said.
One major critique was that Lamont had created his own, handpicked advisory board to help reopen the state.
“I am extremely disappointed that the governor would rather hire consultants than listen to those elected by the people or even those experts they’ve appointed on their advisory group, Fasano said. “The governor made promises that reopening would involve stakeholders, Connecticut medical experts, local job creators, and legislative leaders. But now we know the truth that this consultant company is driving public policy.”
During a news conference Wednesday, Lamont said he hired the group for its speed.
“We could do an RFP process, we could get the responses in 60 days and we could interpret it for a while, or we can get going,” he said. “What I hear from small businesses across the state is ‘I want to get going in a prudent and thoughtful way.’ I thought this was a prudent and thoughtful way to proceed.”
News 8 reached out to the governor’s office for comment. A spokesperson said, “every decision has been made by the governor.”