Posted on September 6, 2018 by admin


NEW HAVEN, CT – Marrakech, Inc. has been awarded a $10,000 contribution from AT&T to support its New Haven Work to Learn program, a youth educational/vocational program providing supportive services to assist youth as they transition into adulthood.

Through Marrakech Youth Coaches, the program provides training and services in the following areas: education, vocational employment, financial literacy, life skills, personal and community connections, physical and mental health, and housing. The program helps struggling young adults develop the life and work skills necessary to find employment and pursue educational goals that will lead to self-sufficiency. All areas of skill building are conducted on site at the program located in New Haven.

The AT&T contribution will support several stipends for students who are participating in educational, employment, financial literacy and life skills groups, as well as on-site youth businesses and community internships.

“The youth we support come to us facing a multitude of barriers and unfortunately this type of programming has been cut time and time again. These services significantly increase self-sufficiency and quality of life, create positive community participation and develop natural supports within our neighborhood. It is only out of the foresight and generosity of our community partners to invest in these outcomes for people. We thank AT&T for many years of insight and support” said Heather Latorra, Marrakech Inc. CEO.

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House Republican Leader Themis Klarides: Audit Raises Questions over Corrections Union Stewards’ Duties, Overtime, Comp Time

Posted on September 4, 2018 by admin


HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today pointed to an auditors’ report that highlights failures to account for the time some Corrections Department union stewards spent attending to union business and undocumented overtime and compensation time within the system.

The report raises questions over the magnitude of the unaccounted for time because the auditors typically sample only small portions of payroll data within any state agency, Klarides said.

“This audit puts a spotlight on policies that permit the union stewards to conduct union activities such as grievance hearings on the taxpayers’ dime. The state employees are entitled to union representation to deal with workplace issues but the stewards should be paid by the unions for that work,’’ Klarides said.

The lack of documentation , “increases the risk of unauthorized union leave,’’ the auditors wrote.

Republicans have put forth budget proposals in the past to require that the stewards be paid by union dues for the activities outside of the workplace.

The auditors sampled 40 instances of Union Release Time/Union Business Leave forms and all 40 were not filled out correctly or did not provide enough detail to determine what activities had taken place. The auditors also noted that overall 201 union stewards within corrections amassed 28,449 hours representing fellow workers at a cost of $894,000 to taxpayers.

When it comes to overtime and compensation time, the auditors also noted overtime was not properly documented in some instances. In three out of 10 instances the auditors said, “Compensatory time was not earned and approved in accordance with established policies.’’

Corrections overtime costs increased in one year from $62 million to $72 million, according to the office of fiscal analysis.

Klarides Comments on Mass Overdoses in Downtown New Haven

Posted on August 16, 2018 by admin


HARTFORD – Citing the mass overdoses in downtown New Haven by scores of people who used synthetic marijuana likely laced with an opioid, House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today said the legislature should have strengthened penalties for those who sell opioids such as fentanyl when it had the chance.

House Republicans have repeatedly submitted legislation from the caucus that would have done so, but each time it has failed to gain final approval after support in committee.

“What has happened in New Haven this week should be a lesson for us all. These mass overdoses tell us that the sale and use of opioids and dangerous substances such as fentanyl is out of control. We need tougher penalties on the sale and manufacture of these substances if we are going to get a handle on this epidemic,’’ Klarides said. “It is not the only answer but it needs to be part of the solution.’’

A Yale New Haven Hospital physician told media outlets that the Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed that the drugs contained synthetic marijuana mixed with fentanyl, synthetic opioid about 50 times stronger than heroin. More than 70 people overdosed on the synthetic marijuana known as K2 on Wednesday. Additional overdoses have continued. The incidents have kept law enforcement and emergency responders busy in downtown  New Haven.

“Tougher laws on the sale of fentanyl in particular will enhance the public’s awareness on just how dangerous and prevalent this substance is,’’ Klarides said.     

The most recent legislation introduced, HB 5551 AAC Increasing Penalties for Dealing Synthetic Drugs, hiked penalties for dealing and manufacturing fentanyl substances. In 2016 a similar bill passed unanimously in the Judiciary Committee and cleared the House only to die in the Senate. Last year the bill passed Judiciary but was never called in the House.

The legislation would have reclassified fentanyl as a narcotic from its current status as a controlled substance. The change in classification would double the penalties to up to 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Klarides called the legislation a straightforward approach to a problem that should  enjoy broad support.