Senate Prez Chandler Calls Massachusetts State Police OT Scandal Criminal; Duo Of MSP Retirees Accused Of Fraud ID’d

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/03/22/senate-prez-chandler-calls-massachusetts-state-police-ot-scandal-criminal-duo-of-msp-retirees-accused-of-fraud-idd/

 

UPDATE (Friday 2:45 p.m.) Governor Charlie Baker’s administration has cited the investigation launched by Attorney General Maura Healey into allegations of State Police overtime malfeasance as proof the governor considers the nature of the actions criminal. 

BOSTON — Senate President Harriette Chandler is going where Governor Charlie Baker has yet to tread regarding an explosive Massachusetts State Police report accusing more than 20 state troopers of doctoring their overtime filings to haul in paychecks for work they never did.

“They’re crimes, and it’s something that I assume that the proper authorities will deal with,” the Worcester Democrat told Jim Braude and Margery Eagan during an interview with Boston Public Radio on Wednesday.

Asked about the scandal earlier this week, Baker would only go as far as saying the troopers who participated in the scheme “should face the music,” and stopped short of calling the scheme to bilk taxpayers criminal.  

Baker added that it should be up to the Massachusetts State Retirement Board as to whether the two state troopers who were allowed to retire amid an investigatory audit should receive full pensions. The audit that began at some point in the fall of 2017 — an exact date has not yet been confirmed — homed in on various members of Troop E, the outfit based out of the Boston Seaport known as the Ted Williams Tunnel Barracks that patrols the Massachusetts Turnpike, and focused on a program known as the Accident Incidence Reduction Effort (AIRE), which was aimed at identifying dangerous and aggressive drivers.

The audit focused on 2016 overtime filings.

State Police Superintendent Colonel Kerry Gilpin has said that the number of phantom shifts filed for by individual state troopers now facing duty hearings range from “as few as one to as high as one hundred.”

Baker appointed Gilpin to the post in November after the former superintendent, Lieutenant Colonel Richard McKeon, retired days after a state trooper named him and other top brass in a lawsuit alleging he had been unfairly targeted for discipline for including embarrassing and incriminating details in the arrest report of a prominent Worcester County judge’s daughter.

Gilpin has said 21 state troopers — two of whom retired prior to her announcement — have been identified. A scan of the state comptroller’s payroll records as of Thursday morning shows that in 2016, State Trooper Eric Chin claimed $131,653.99 in overtime, while in 2015 his superior, Lieutenant John F. O’Grady, claimed $131,652.11. Both worked out of Troop E.

State comptroller records show that Chin took home the largest haul out of Troop E when the scheme was apparently in full-drive, netting a combined $302,400.52 in 2016. 

According to the results of a WCVB investigation published in November 2017, McKeon suspended Chin without pay for an undisclosed period in April 2016.

Meanwhile, State Police spokesman David Procopio confirmed Thursday to New Boston Post that O’Grady and Lieutenant John T. Giulino — another Troop E member — retired with honorable discharges during the same month, November 2017, that McKeon and his second-in-command, Lieutenant Francis Hughes, stepped down. 

Procopio confirmed that both retired ahead of the official launch of the internal investigation focusing on the 2016-based audit.

Procopio also confirmed that the internal affairs investigation began “earlier this week as a result of information learned from the audit.” 

Giulino, like O’Grady, retired with an honorable discharge and received a $59,175.38 buyout in November, according to comptroller records. 

Records show that Giulino claimed $55,984.44 in overtime pay in 2017. His overtime pay ranged from a minimum of $41,296.10 in 2010 to a maximum of $66,916.20 in 2015. The year 2016 saw Giulino claim $53,072.55 in overtime pay. 

O’Grady walked away with a $55,228.49 buyout in addition to claiming $83,259.39 in overtime for 2017.

Meanwhile, Chandler in her interview Thursday suggested lawmakers might want to explore how extra overtime assignments — those which are actually staffed and are not fraudulent figments of phony paperwork — affect state police troopers’ ability to do their jobs to the best of their ability. 

“They’re working hard for that, I’ve got to say,” Chandler said about the overtime hours that state troopers volunteer to work. “They’re out there doing the extra time, the overtime, but they’re tired when they do that. 

“Does that affect their ability to do their 40-hour shift that they’re paid to do, their regular 40-hour shift? It’s something that requires us to look at more carefully.”

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