DeFronzo: Marie Ouster Handled "Awkwardly" By Rell Administration
Marie had faced allegations of improper conduct before he stepped down last week
Governor Jodi Rell’s office has been accused of mishandling the resignation of Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie. It’s now been revealed that Marie had faced allegations of improper conduct before he stepped down last week.
Marie, who’d served very successfully as DOT Commissioner for two years resigned suddenly in mysterious circumstances. Governor Rell’s office at the time issued only a brief statement saying he wanted to pursue long term employment opportunities and spend time with his family. But rumors persisted about the matter, and Rell herself admitted Wednesday that Marie had been accused of acting improperly towards a department employee. Her office had Marie sign a separation agreement allowing him to leave in good standing, apparently in return for a pledge of confidentiality. Senator Donald DeFronzo is co-chair of the legislature’s transportation committee.
“It seems to have been handled very very awkwardly by the administration. I don’t think it’s been in the best interests of the state of Connecticut, and specifically the Department of Transportation. There was no formal complaint, so it does seem strange to me that an individual who served the state well for his tenure and has otherwise a clean record and very professional standing would be terminated summarily on the basis of an informal complaint,” DeFronzo said.
Marie had been instrumental in pushing for federal funding to revive the New Haven to Springfield rail line, and other transit projects, and had successfully reorganized the department. Jim Cameron of the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council worked closely with the commissioner.
“I thought he did an excellent job as commissioner. He was always forthright and candid and honest and apolitical. So I’m sad to lose him as commissioner whatever the circumstances, and I hope that whatever transpires with this latest allegation doesn’t necessarily impede his professional next step,” Cameron said.
Marie himself told the Stamford Advocate Wednesday that he was pressured to resign, and given no opportunity to respond to the allegations against him. He says he was shocked at how quickly the information had become public knowledge, because he had been led to believe the agreement signed with Rell’s office would protect his privacy. Marie also said in the interview that if behavior issues were ever presented against him, he is confident he would prevail.