Angela Valero was one of the shortest tenured state employees to receive a layoff notice last week.
She worked as a Correction Officer at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville since February, starting there shortly after she graduated from the Correction Academy.
"It was the best thing ever" Valero said of her job. She enjoyed the responsibility and the challenge of working for the Department of Correction.
“It’s comfort. It’s something you could retire from. It’s job security. What you would think is job security.”
When she was laid off, along with nearly 200 other DOC employees over the past month, she instantly thought of the well-being of her colleagues.
“It is affecting the safety and security of the facilities. You know, it’s putting more CO’s in danger working overtime and dealing with inmates can be pretty tough."
Valero, an AFSCME Union member wrote an Op-Ed in the Day of New London criticizing the governor and calling for more or higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, said the issue is all about safety and security.
But data provided by the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, an arm of Governor Dannel Malloy's administration, point to a declining prison population, meaning less need for Correction Officers.
Since May 12, 2011, the prison population has decreased by more than 2,000 according to OPM.
Governor Malloy has said if state bargaining units opened their contracts to renegotiation and givebacks, then some but not all jobs could be saved.
Valero said that's not an option. She said it goes against her colleagues.
"I wouldn’t want them to touch that. I would take the layoff way before I would even let them open it. It’s the most important thing.”