HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Some of the Connecticut state employees who were fired following an investigation into alleged fraud in an emergency food stamp program are getting their jobs back, state and union officials confirmed on Wednesday.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's office confirmed that 40 of the 103 dismissed workers have been reinstated. Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said those employees that allegedly committed "some of the most egregious violations" have not yet had their cases heard by an independent, neutral arbitrator and remain unemployed by the state.
Some of the 103 workers have resigned or retired, opting not to participate in the labor hearings.
The workers had received benefits under the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or D-SNAP, following the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
Sal Luciano, executive director of AFSCME Council 4, the union that represents more than 35 of the 103 workers, said the arbitrator found that many individuals made mistakes in the application but did not intentionally commit fraud.
He said those employees have made, or have committed to make, full restitution to the state for the amount they received from D-SNAP. The arbitrator, Luciano said, imposed disciplinary suspensions from 15 to 60 working days.
"While some state employees may have engaged in fraud regarding the D-SNAP program and have been dismissed or resigned from state service, these employees were found to have made errors that the arbitrator found warranted discipline, but not dismissal."
Luciano said "everyone is entitled to due process and union representation."
Doba said Malloy has instructed the state Office of Labor Relations to review each of the arbitration decisions that have been issued and explore with the state Attorney General whether there are sufficient legal grounds to appeal to the superior court. He said that process will be undertaken in the coming weeks.
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