Twenty-one investigators have been assigned to scrutinize the last three years of former Vt. State Police Sergeant Jim Deeghan's time cards. The governor says they've discovered something that's going to make the investigation even tougher.
"We have discovered that there are two sets of time sheets which make our work more complex," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
Having duplicate time sheets is not a normal state police practice. The governor says there were discrepancies between the copies, but he would not say where each copy was going or who was signing off on the hours.
The criminal case is now in its discovery phase. State prosecutors are obligated to turn over all documents to Deeghan's lawyer before the public can see the evidence, which in this case, is Deeghan's time sheets. The state hopes to have that completed by Aug. 3.
"Nothing will remain a secret on this team," Shumlin said.
The Department of Public Safety is hoping the allegations against one will not define the entire department in the eyes of Vermonters.
"We're going to be judged from our view on how we move forward. That we come up with a better internal process to assess how we're going to do this, so that we can assure there's that honesty in reporting we need," Vt. Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn said.
But since the allegations of timecard fraud against Deeghan surfaced earlier this month, the work ethic of Vermont's green and gold has come under fire. But state officials say the alleged abuse is an isolated case.
"At this time there's no reason to believe that there's widespread time sheet fraud in Vermont," Shumlin said.
The governor has asked the state auditor's office to review the department of public safety in an effort to catch other fraudulent activities or weaknesses. The focused fraud audit aims to catch what broader financial audits in past years have missed.
"We're glad we have the cooperation of DPS to basically open up their books to say come on in and make us stronger," Vt. Auditor Tom Salmon said.
In September the auditor's office will launch a second audit examining the overtime practices of all state employees, which means any employee timecard could be called into review. That process is expected to cost $100,000.
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