Nearly a month after the story broke, the investigation into former State Police Sgt. Jim Deeghan is still in progress. It's alleged that he racked up an impossibly high amount of overtime last year, in the neighborhood of $60,000, and covered his tracks by keeping two sets of time sheets.
Tuesday, Republican State Sen. Vince Illuzzi, a candidate for state auditor, released a three point plan to prevent future cases like Deeghan's. "There's no question that it's an isolated incident," said Illuzzi, "but what the case points out is that the safeguards are not in place across state government."
The plan calls for:
- Developing a strong system of checks and balances preventing employee time sheets from being rubber-stamped.
- Requiring written authorization for verifiable O.T. hours - or verbal okay in emergency circumstances.
- Ensuring that agency vehicles, cell phones and other equipment are used solely for official business.
Democrat-Progressive Doug Hoffer is also hoping to win the seat soon to be vacated by current Auditor Tom Salmon. "I was a little surprised," said Hoffer of Illuzzi's release Tuesday, "because most of the core elements of his suggestions are already contained in state human resource policy manuals."
Hoffer said while good ideas, points one and two are already covered. He argues that the third also has merit but is unconnected to the alleged O.T. scandal. "People above supervisors, agencies and department secretaries and commissioners for the first part, have to make it clear to the folks below them that these existing policies have to be enforced," he said.
Illuzzi said he based his points on effective policies elsewhere and on conversations he's had with Vermont officials including the current auditor. "This builds on the good work that (Tom Salmon) and previous auditors have done," he said.
"It deserves a thorough review," said Hoffer of payment policies, "and Vermonters can expect that from me."
Both candidates say they're committed to preventing a repeat case.
Illuzzi did point out that not all overtime is bad. Though O.T. hours are more expensive than regular-time he says they can help the state save on additional benefits cost when used properly.
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:39 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:39:09 GMT
"Awesome -- I lost it when I finished I have to say, but it was great. It was great," said Amy Sullivan. The 2013 Boston Marathon runner was all smiles as she and 450 other runners crossed the finishMore >>
A race in southern Vermont Sunday gave runners who were unable to finish the Boston Marathon a second chance at the finish line.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:38 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:38:13 GMT
They come from all over the state and wait in line for hours. "It's become sort of a yearly event for us. We've been doing it for eight or nine years now -- we're having a blast," said Ed Sayers ofMore >>
Dozens of drivers gathered in Chelsea for a record setting road rally -- full of riddles that keep drivers and passengers on their toes.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:36 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:36:52 GMT
College graduation season is in full swing -- and Sunday in Burlington it was a big one. A crowd of nearly 10,000 attended the 211th commencement ceremony at the University of Vermont.In all, more thanMore >>
A crowd of nearly 10,000 attended the 211th commencement ceremony at the University of Vermont.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:28 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:28:28 GMT
Fire destroyed a barn in Clinton County, New York Sunday morning.It happened in the town of Mooers. Officials say the barn on Eddy Road was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just before 11:30More >>
Officials say the barn on Eddy Road was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just before 11:30 a.m.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:27 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:27:13 GMT
A Berlin, New Hampshire man is dead following a kayaking accident.It happened on a stretch of the Upper Ammonoosuc River in the town of Dummer. Officials say Keith Whitten, 58, was paddling with his wifeMore >>
A Berlin, New Hampshire man is dead following a kayaking accident.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:26 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:26:39 GMT
Woodchuck Hard Cider is taking legal action to protect its furry mascot.Last week the Middlebury company filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against South Burlington-based Woodchuck Coffee RoastersMore >>
Woodchuck Hard Cider is taking legal action to protect its furry mascot.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:17 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:17:27 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>