Gov. Ned Lamont, speaking at a press conference in Farmington, said Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. would “be gone” if he could fire him. (CTMirror.org)
Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday said Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. would “be gone” if the governor had the power to fire him.
The governor’s remarks came at a press conference a day after the state released the results of an independent investigationinto Colangelo’s hiring of Anastasia Diamantis, the daughter of Kostantinos “Kosta” Diamantis, a former deputy secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.
That investigative report questioned the credibility of Colangelo and Kosta Diamantis as they tried to explain how Anastasia Diamantis was selected to fill a state job in the Division of Criminal Justice, which pays $99,000 a year.
The report found that Colangelo was prodding Kosta Diamantis at the same time to use his influence to increase the salaries for several positions within the Division of Criminal Justice.
Emails that were reviewed as part of the investigation suggested that Colangelo was seeking those raises in order to prevent other state employees within the Division of Criminal Justice from opposing his reappointment.
“I do not hire him. I do not fire him. But if I did, he’d be gone,” Lamont said of Colangelo.
“I have zero tolerance for this type of ethical malfeasance,” Lamont added. “I believe this was an abuse of the public trust.”
On Wednesday, Colangelo’s office said he was reserving comment until completing his review of the report. The CT Mirror called a spokeswoman for his office on Thursday but did not receive an immediate response.
Lamont’s opinion on the matter will not decide whether Colangelo continues to serve in his current role, which he took over two years ago.
Colangelo’s fate rests with the state’s Criminal Justice Commission, which is led by Andrew McDonald, an associate justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.
During the press conference on Thursday, Lamont urged the Criminal Justice Commission to make its decision soon.
The findings in the investigative report, Lamont said, damage the trust that people have in government and “cast a pall” over all public employees, even though the vast majority are hardworking public servants.