Reproductive rights impacted business in Connecticut after a disagreement over reproductive services put the brakes on the expected merger of Waterbury and St. Mary’s hospitals.

The two entities were expected to combine as one unit in a newly built, 426-bed facility. But the question of whether to provide reproductive services stalled the plan. St. Mary’s is a Catholic-affiliated hospital, and the Vatican has final approval over the merger. Catholic Health Services does not permit abortions or other forms of birth control such as vasectomies and tubal ligations.

The merger was being led and financed by LHP Group, a private Texas company.

A proposed solution to the dilemma, which would place all reproductive services in a separate building near the hospital, was rejected by the state’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW). Commissioners said the proposal did not provide needed services to area women.

PCSW co-sponsored a public information hearing in June. In its monthly newsletter that month, the organization stated that it sought to “make sure that the women’s community is represented” and that “the Waterbury community is not denied the medical services it needs and that a high standard of care for the majority prevails.”

MergerWatch, an organization that looks to protect patients’ rights when hospitals merge, also found fault with the proposal.

“Plans for a hybrid model of an ambulatory surgery center were rejected by MergerWatch and local women's health advocates due to quality concerns and unstable financial projections,” stated the organization. “We continue discussions as new solutions are explored.

 SEYMOUR — Connecticut Basement Systems has been ranked No. 5 among Best Places to Work in the Hearst Connecticut Workplaces for 2012. What’s especially notable about the award is that it is based entirely on employee feedback. Variables included job satisfaction, benefits, company leadership and future goals. Employees also were asked to assess their company in terms of the value they felt it placed on workers. Connecticut Basement Systems specializes in basement crawl-space repair, waterproofing, finishing services and foundation repair. Research firm Workplace Dynamics, LLP conducted the survey.

 BRIDGEPORT — A request for proposals has been issued by the city’s Office of Planning & Economic Development (OPED) for the former Carpenter Steel site, located off Seaview Avenue. Redevelopment plans include a grocery store and pharmacy targeted for residents of the East End/East Side area, and plans must incorporate these elements. The Stratford Avenue and I-95-bounded site will be known as Seaview Plaza and will include 17 acres along Yellow Mill waters and the harbor. Proposals are due by 4 p.m. on October 26 at OPED, 999 Broad Street. For more information, visit bridgeport.gov.

 NEW BRITAIN — Being in the right place at the right time is one thing. But if you have nothing to say, serendipity fizzles. The Connecticut Small Business Development Center is offering a workshop on perfecting the elevator pitch so that opportunities to promote yourself and your business aren’t lost. Participants will examine elements of the best type of elevator pitch and see examples, create substance for a pitch, delve into YouTube as an effective vehicle, and practice customized pitches. Dewey Forbes will be the guest speaker. The event takes place October 23, at the SBDC downtown New Britain office at Central Connecticut State University. The cost to attend is $30. For more information, call 860-832-0650.

 HARTFORD — Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center is seeking to increase its roster of vendors with a Supplier Diversity Vendor Fair taking place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. October 22 at the downtown Marriott, 200 Columbus Boulevard. Those attending will learn about available contracts and how to successfully do business with the health-care facility from those who make contract decisions. There also will be ample opportunity to network. Registration begins at 8 a.m.; breakfast and lunch will be served. To learn more phone 860-796-2842.

 HARTFORD — Ten months after Connecticut Light & Power president and CEO Jeffrey Butler resigned amid mounting criticism over the company’s response to severe storms in 2011, a new CL&P head has been named. William Herdegen III was selected to fill the post, the company announced last month. Herdegen’s commitment to accountability, as well as other characteristics, were stressed in a press release. In addition to structural and infrastructural damage, CL&P’s president/CEO became a casualty of the aftereffects of last year’s Tropical Storm Irene and October 29 snowstorm. The natural occurrences resulted in downed trees and massive power outages that left large portions of Connecticut residents in the dark, and unable to communicate from home, for several days. Many flocked to local libraries and other community gathering places where power was available. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state legislators were among those who severely criticized Butler and CL&P for their apparent inability to adequately handle the emergency situation. Herdegen, who has worked in the utility industry for more than three decades, has held a variety of executive positions. He is a former vice president of Kansas City Light & Power. In the CL&P release, Tom May, president and CEO of parent company Northeast Utilities, lauded Herdegen for “a focus on operational excellence, customer service, emergency response and employee safety.”

 Construction employment declined in 164 out of 337 metropolitan areas between August 2011 and August 2012, increased in 130 and was stagnant in 43, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that construction employment in many areas was suffering as government and business officials delay projects in the face of federal tax and funding uncertainty.

“The looming fiscal cliff is already contributing to construction employment declines in many parts of the country,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “We are just not seeing the kind of private sector momentum that the industry experienced earlier this year.”

 

Among all markets nationwide ranked by AGCA, the one it identifies as “Springfield, Mass./Connecticut” suffered the highest percentage decline in the nation — down 31 percent, reflecting a loss of 3,700 construction jobs year over year. Statewide for Connecticut alone, the construction industry shed five percent of all construction jobs over the same period. The New Haven Labor Market Area lost 7.0 percent of construction jobs.

 

The largest raw job losses during the same period were posted in Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Marietta, Ga., which lost 7,200 jobs over the past year doe to the slowdown.