Waterbury Republican-American Letter to the Editor

To the Editor (Waterbury Republican-American)

Dec. 2, 2011

While it is the prerogative of the editorial board to criticize the PCSW for working toward political parity (“Hedging on the Pledge, Nov. 23), the paper would do well to check itself first for accuracy and intent. Aside from advocating retribution (“Gov. Malloy has a motive to deliver the coup de grace to these patronage pits…”) your editorial has entirely missed the point of the Connecticut Government Appointments Project (ConnGAP), through which the Governor pledged to make his best effort to name women to half of Executive Branch posts.

ConnGAP’s purpose was never to lower the bar, as your editorial implies. Quite the opposite: it was to set the bar high – high out of the reach of the inner circles appointing authorities tend to rely on when making staff and commissionership choices.  

In urging the Governor to focus on the “qualifications and character” of candidates for appointment, you imply the women we put forth for consideration for 75 high-level positions were unqualified and of questionable character. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The  60 women (out of an original pool of more than 100) were vetted by a bi-partisan executive search committee and only the most eminent and experienced names were ultimately put forth, including those of Dr. Jewell Mullen and Judge Joette Katz, neither of whom was in the Governor’s circle and both of whom were excellent choices. In other words, ConnGAP was never about quotas; it was, rather, about widening the circle of opportunities to include those who are too often overlooked when important decisions are being made. No one, including our very capable governor, can possibly know everyone there is to know; our aim was to help him go outside his familiar circles to engage more diverse voices.

It’s just common sense that any governing body benefits from diverse opinions, and that widening the circle of talent necessarily widens perspective. Or is the paper advocating a return to the days when, for example, the Irish were systematically overlooked when it came time to hire? Try telling that to a governor named Malloy.

Teresa C. Younger

Executive Director

The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women