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Arts Post For Governor's Wife Raises Conflict Questions

Hartford Courant Editorial

October 12, 2011

If her name were Cathy Smith or Cathy Jones, we'd be applauding her appointment as chief executive officer of the Greater Hartford Arts Council. She is an experienced and successful administrator of nonprofit organizations and a proven fundraiser, just what the council needs.

But her name is Cathy Malloy, wife of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and it is possible to imagine situations where that might be a problem.

Ms. Malloy, who is replacing Kate Bolduc, will begin work next week. Her salary has not been disclosed, though the position paid $173,992 in 2008, according to records that should be more up to date. Ms. Malloy ran a sexual assault crisis center in Stamford and was vice president of development and campaign director for the United Way of Stamford/Greenwich.

The potential issues involve, as usual, money. The arts council receives state funds. It was paid $141,159 in 2010, according to state records. Should that number go up, nonprofits not served by the council may grumble. If certain corporations also up their contributions to the council, that could be viewed as attempting to buy access. Jobs given to congressional spouses has been a near-scandal in Washington for years.

On the other hand, Ms. Malloy has navigated these waters before, heading nonprofits while her husband was mayor of Stamford (where both worked hard for the arts), and ought to be able to have her own life and career if she so chooses.

The arts are critically important to Greater Hartford on a number of levels, not the least of which is making the region attractive for new business. The arts council supports 150 arts and cultural organizations. If Ms. Malloy is able to do the work without any appearance of conflict of interest, God bless her but it is something that will be watched closely, and should be.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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