To the Editor:
As the acting executive director of an agency under attack in these pages, I would like to offer a few comments on the column, “Time To Confront A Useless CHRO,” which appeared in the Sept. 8 issue of the Connecticut Law Tribune. I have spent almost 30 years in public service, first as a police officer and the last 22 years with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. I have had the pleasure of serving as an investigator, regional manager, attorney, managing attorney, and, for the last three months, acting executive director of the agency. I’m only one example of the 100 employees who are committed to the CHRO and the work that we do.
Like other agencies of great responsibilities and limited resources, the CHRO is not above improvement. Indeed, I welcome thoughtful suggestions to enhance this agency’s operations to better achieve its mission to end discrimination in Connecticut. But columnist Karen Lee Torre’s suggestion of eliminating or eviscerating the agency is far from constructive. Other agencies with significant responsibilities, such as the Department of Correction, Department of Public Safety, Department of Children and Families, and Department of Motor Vehicles, also suffer from criticism; similarly, it is not in our interest to eliminate any of them.
Unfortunately, whatever points Ms. Torre makes are covered by the mud she slings. What is unnecessary is not the CHRO, as she writes, but unfounded and malicious ill will, which can only hurt, not help. Her generalizations about persons of a different race or ethnicity drive home the reason this agency was created and support the need for our continued existence.
As a public agency doing the public’s business, criticism of the CHRO is fair game, but wildly insulting remarks about the intellectual gifts of agency employees or “pro ses who think their race or ethnicity give them the right to be non-performers or no-shows at work,” a statement with ugly overtones, crosses the line. The article says more about Ms. Torre than the CHRO.
Robert J. Brothers Jr.
Acting Executive Director
Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities