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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Conn. AG: State auditor to look into union complaint

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jun 21, 2011

George Jepsen

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) -- Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says his office will refer to the State Auditors of Public Accounts a complaint alleging improper use of the state's email system.

Jepsen, on Monday, confirmed that his office received a letter detailing the complaint, made by state employee union leaders.

"Pursuant to the whistleblower statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 4-61dd, we are referring this matter to the Connecticut State Auditors of Public Accounts for their consideration," he said in a statement.

"We will continue to review claims that state computer laws have been violated."

The attorney general said at this time there is "insufficient information" to comment further on the merits of the "serious" allegations.

The allegations, made by the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition, include that the Yankee Institute for Public Policy sought to interfere with the ratification process of a labor savings and concessions deal, The Associated Press reported.

The deal is needed to balance Connecticut's budget, the AP explained.

The union leaders charge the institute -- a free market, limited government think tank based in Hartford that researches Connecticut public policy questions -- with deliberately sabotaging the ongoing voting.

They contend the institute is misusing the state email system to send unionized workers emails from a fake account, according to the AP.

Fergus Cullen, executive director of the institute, issued the following statement in response to the union leaders' complaint to Jepsen:

"There are two groups of people in Connecticut: Those who enjoy the security, high pay, and generous benefits of government jobs -- and the rest of us who pay for them. The unions think state employees deserve permanent jobs, automatic raises, and guaranteed health and pension benefits worth well over a million dollars per state employee. The Yankee Institute disagrees.

"The union alleges that the Yankee Institute is breaking the law by opposing sweetheart labor union deals. We categorically deny all of the union's accusations made in SEBAC's desperate and paranoid June 17 letter to Attorney General Jepsen. If the unions can't provide any evidence to support their charges, they should withdraw them and apologize to the Yankee Institute before their credibility is further damaged. Without such evidence, the attorney general has no basis for an investigation and he should say so immediately."

Cullen on Monday called the union's behavior "delusional" and said the letter to Jepsen is a "desperate attempt" to silence the institute.

"We suggest SEBAC cool off with a tall glass of lemonade and some time in the shade," Cullen said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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