McLachlan: Waste in Retiree Payout System ‘Exhibit A’ of Why Our State is Going Broke”

June 17, 2015

Sen. Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury), the ranking Republican senator on the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee, today sharply criticized state officials in response to a state auditors’ report (pdf) which revealed how potentially millions of dollars of disability benefits have been getting paid out to State of Connecticut retirees who shouldn’t have received them.

“This is ‘Exhibit A’ of why our state is going broke,” McLachlan said. “Look no farther than this report. Taxpayers’ money is flying out the door with no oversight. It’s shameful, and it adds insult to injury since we are mired in this budget crisis.”

“At a time when Connecticut is facing an incredibly challenging budget, it’s even more infuriating to learn about these irresponsible, inexcusable errors,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano. “How can we expect the public to take on more burdens when the state fails to control internal waste and watch its own spending closely? This directly challenges the public trust in government. It is mind blowing to think taxpayer dollars could be so unprotected.”

The auditors’ report to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, which came as a result of a whistleblower complaint to the Office of State Comptroller’s Retirement Services Division, reported that there has been a “potential breakdown in the safekeeping of State Employees Retirement System resources.”

The analysis cited examples of “disability payments to state retirees who were no longer entitled to receive a disability retirement.” The payments could have cost state taxpayers millions of dollars.

“The auditors recommend a series of changes to state law to tighten the benefits system,” McLachlan said. “I will gladly put these suggestions forward in the form of legislation. It is painfully obvious that the system needs top-to-bottom reforms as soon as we can make that happen. In the meantime, I look forward to an explanation as to why this has happened over a period of years, how it continued on for so long, and who will be held accountable for this colossal failure to safeguard Connecticut taxpayer dollars.”