Division of Criminal Justice ignoring executive order on rehiring retired employees?

The Division of Criminal Justice has ignored a 2009 executive order by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, which limited the amount of time retired employees could be rehired by an agency, according to a new state audit.

Executive Order 27 stipulates that a retired worker can only be rehired for a period of 120 days in a calendar year and is limited to only two such periods, but according to the auditors’ findings 9 out of 11 retirees hired by the division were rehired for more than the 2 period limit.

The auditors noted that the DCJ did not believe the executive order applied to them based on an email sent by the Department of Administrative Services.

The DCJ said it has relied on guidance from both the DAS and the Office of Policy and Management, which urged the Division to follow the order, but “did not require mandatory compliance.”

The executive order says that rehiring of retired workers must be approved by the Department of Administrative Services and the Office of Policy and Management.

The DCJ, which employs more than 450 prosecutors, investigators and administrators, said that rehiring retired workers is “critical to operational efficiency” due to the retirees’ “unique skill set.”

State law says that rehired retirees only receive a percentage of their former pay and are not eligible for health benefits, overtime, longevity pay, leave accrual or mileage reimbursements.

If a rehired retiree works in excess of the two 120 day limitations they have to pay back any pension payments they received.

However, an audit of the state retirement system earlier this year found these restrictions have been ignored at some levels of state government, but did not indicate which agencies were responsible.

The August 31 audit found 20 rehired retirees had worked in excess of the 120 day period, resulting in over $800,000 being paid in unallowable pension payments. The state also continued to make payments toward those retirees’ pensions, contributing $59,000.

The audit also found substantial payments made to retirees for longevity pay, mileage, leave and health benefits.

Only 29 rehired retirees were tested by the auditors, raising questions as to how rampant the practice – and the violation of the executive order – may be.

The auditors also found that prosecutors had charged over 2,200 hours of leave time when they worked more than their normal, scheduled hours.

The state allows Leave Other Paid time if an employee needs leave for fire duty, the Red Cross, or civil leave when the absence is unrelated to their work, according to the audit.

However, the audit noted that “a number of the Division’s prosecutors” utilized the LOPD time for work purposes.

The auditors said such leave time is not covered under the prosecutors’ collective bargaining contract and contradicts LOPD policy. “The practice of allowing such time off to staff should be discontinued,” the auditors said.

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