Connecticut Pilots Hopeful as Pay Raise Proposal Finally Enters Comment Period

More than a month after the New York Legislature passed a rate increase that had been first introduced in the state of Connecticut, the last step in a formal approval process in the Constitution State is apparently underway. MarEx sources confirmed yesterday that the proposed rate change regulation, one which would clear the way for the first pay increase for Long Island Sound marine pilots in almost a quarter century, was to be published in the Connecticut Law Journal today. A 30-day comment period, commencing with the publication in the Connecticut Law Journal would necessarily follow. Failing any major objections to the measure, there would then be a 10 to 14-day administrative regulation review process before the new rates could become effective.

Because the pilots in Long Island Sound operate under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) between New York and Connecticut, both states have to approve the increase in pay. Long Island Sound pilots take ships from the entrance of the sound and guide them to and from ports in Connecticut and New York. They are licensed by both states. In July, the Governor of New York signed, as expected, the long-awaited legislation. But the measure meant little in the face of continued bickering in Connecticut, where policy wonks in the governor’s office have held up similar approvals.

As reported previously in this newsletter, the Connecticut Office of Policy refused to allow the measure to go through (in part) because of objections to the diversion of pilot payments to Connecticut’s general transportation fund. With that provision removed from the equation, the pay raise is now expected to move forward and eventually come into force. The long-awaited adjustment will increase pilot pay by about 6% annually for the next three years.