Yesterday, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced her retirement effective on Thursday, June 30.
“Through her time in the House of Representatives and now as Secretary of the State, there has never been a question that Merrill is a dedicated public servant. Even if we were not always on the same side of issues, I have always respected and appreciated the work she has done for the people of the state of Connecticut. We wish Secretary Merrill and her family well and will keep her and her family in our thoughts as she leaves state service and prioritizes her family,” Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto said.
“The real concern is, now what?” asked Proto.
While it has been shared that Governor Lamont is under no obligation to elevate the notorious Scott Bates, the current titular second-in-command at the Secretary of the State’s Office, there is still a very real possibility that Bates would make a convenient temporary Secretary until this November’s election.
“The Governor is at a crossroads. He can make the most of these remaining months of Secretary Merrill’s term and ensure that the interim Secretary of the State is committed to ensuring that our August primaries and November elections are well organized and fairly conducted, or he can fall back on classic cronyism.” said Proto.
“Lamont’s administration has been through a firestorm of corruption, disparate treatment of staff and an overall exodus of top tier leadership. This impending vacancy is a chance for Lamont to showcase a turnaround, and improvement, of judgment by appointing suitable bipartisan help for the next half year, like former Senate Republican Leaders John McKinney or Len Fasano. There is no shortage of individuals, on both sides of the aisle, who would serve the people and the voters well over the remaining six months,” Proto said.
“Sadly, what is more likely is that Lamont will provide yet another promotion, both in pomp and payroll, for Bates, since it’s under the veil of being ‘only temporary.’ Unfortunately Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Democrats’ tolerance and even protection of bad actors to move their agenda forward does not serve the people of Connecticut well and calls into question the reasoning behind these acts. With a proven track record of mismanagement, and utter incompetence in the management of the Port Authority, one would think, and more importantly hope, that Governor Lamont would refrain from investing any more of taxpayer funds in to such an unfit appointee; especially when picking him to fill the shoes of a woman who has been held in such high regard,” Proto continued.
“Connecticut voters will be watching and hoping that Governor Lamont and the Democratic leadership put the people of Connecticut ahead of the Democratic Party’s electoral interests. Let’s see who gets the temporary political favor as the Lamont reelection effort heats up,” concluded Proto.
Scott Bates and the Port Authority
- “The port authority is no stranger to controversy and was heavily criticized following a whistleblower complaint and reports of financial misconduct under former Executive Director Evan Matthews and former authority board Chairman Scott Bates. The result was hearings, state oversight of the port authority and recent legislation that demands more reporting to the legislature as work at State Pier proceeds.” https://www.theday.com/article/20220204/NWS01/220209739
- “Not only did the port authority board sign a strange and lucrative contract with venture capitalists to help sign the New London port away to a competitor, but another board member, John Johnson of New London, continues to participate in votes and discussion of State Pier while he stands to profit by industrial property he owns nearby… Scott Bates of Stonington, a prominent Democrat who was chairman of the port authority board when the Seabury contract was granted, continues to serve as deputy to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, who supported him as the scandals involving his stewardship of the port authority unspooled over the last year.” https://www.theday.com/local-columns/20210208/port-authority-paid-700000-to-employer-of-former-board-member