Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced on Wednesday that he has selected Gary Collins of Portland to serve as chairperson of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), the state agency responsible for addressing discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement and working to establish equal opportunity and justice for all persons within the state.
“While significant progress has been made to advance equal rights since the agency was created nearly 70 years ago, we still need to ensure that people of all backgrounds in our state receive fair and just treatment, whether that be regarding issues surrounding employment, housing, or other activities,” Governor Malloy said. “Gary has broad experience and the commission will be well served with him functioning as its chairperson. I look forward to him serving in this role.”
“Our collective mission to end discrimination in all forms is critical to ensuring our state continues to be a place where all people are able to reach their full potential and realize their dreams,” Collins said. “It is an honor and a privilege to serve the state in this most important role.”
A lawyer by training, Collins currently works as a Core Compliance Leader (Exec.) with GE Capital in Norwalk. He has also been an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law (Investigations 7886) since 2004. He previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. after which he joined Day, Berry & Howard LLC (now Day Pitney) where he was elected partner in 2006.
Collins continues to serve in leadership roles for a number of boards and nonprofit organizations, including the Council for a Livable World, a nonpartisan advocacy organization dedicated to reducing the danger of nuclear weapons and increasing national security. He is the founder of the Collins Foundation, Inc., which invests in initiatives that improve educational opportunity and strengthen community organizations in Connecticut, with a special emphasis on individuals from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds. He is a graduate of the State University of New York, Buffalo (1988) and Vanderbilt University School of Law (1991).
CHRO is statutorily responsible for enforcing human rights laws that ban illegal discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit transactions; monitoring compliance with state contract compliance laws and with laws requiring affirmative action in state agency personnel practices; and establishing equal opportunity and justice for all persons in Connecticut through education and outreach activities.
The agency is governed by a volunteer commission composed of nine members, five of which are appointed by the Governor, who also selects the commission’s chairperson, and the other four by legislative leadership. Its policies are implemented by a commission-appointed executive director and agency staff.