MONTPELIER, Vt.—Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says he’s going to push hard for pension reform legislation in the aftermath of the case in which a former state police trooper was charged with padding his time sheets.
Shumlin made the announcement Wednesday during a news conference where he and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn discussed other needed changes.
Last July, former Sgt. Jim Deeghan was charged with fraud after investigators discovered he had systematically claimed overtime for work never performed.
The legislation now proposed by Shumlin would give judges the power to divert benefits from public employees convicted of certain crimes.
It could not apply retroactively, nor to the Deeghan case, officials said.
“While most employees are dedicated and honest, financial crimes have occurred and are a violation of that trust,” said Beth Pearce, the state treasurer. “This proposal provides a fair and reasonable mechanism to recoup those funds on behalf of the taxpayer.”
The president of the troopers union, and other labor leaders, say they support the change.
Commissioner Flynn said he has also ordered much tighter procedures for the agency, with more oversight. Time sheets with more than twenty hours of overtime are now automatically flagged for review, he said.
A report from an outside auditing firm is expected to be completed next month, but state officials say investigators digging through years of records have implicated no other troopers of wrongdoing.