June 13, 2012 - Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano issued this statement today regarding the settlement of several D-SNAP fraud allegation cases:
“Council 4 AFSCME and The State of Connecticut agreed to a process of expedited arbitration for a number of AFSCME members who had been dismissed from state service for receiving benefits under the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).
“Many AFSCME grievances were presented over the last two days before an independent neutral arbitrator who issued a decision in each case. Most of the cases resulted in a finding by the arbitrator that the individual made mistakes in the application and did not commit intentional fraud. Those individuals have made, or have committed to make, full restitution to the State for the amount they received from the program. The arbitrator imposed disciplinary suspensions ranging from 15 to 60 working days.
“While some state employees may have engaged in fraud regarding the DSNAP 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. They exercised their due process rights, paid back the money received, were adequately disciplined and will be reinstated to their state positions.
“We made it clear from the time the allegations broke that any individuals who knowingly deceived taxpayers to receive a D-SNAP benefit must be held accountable. We also made it clear that people are innocent until proven guilty and that everyone is entitled to due process and union representation."
Council 4 members were represented throughout the arbitration process by Staff Representatives Neal Cunningham, Jeff Scanlon and Al Chiucarello.
“The arbitrator’s awards in these cases are an appropriate solution for the individual Council 4 union members and the State.”