Attorney General's Opinion
Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal
January 6, 1991
Honorable Bernard R. Sullivan
Commissioner of Public Safety
100 Washington Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Commissioner Sullivan:
We are in receipt of a letter dated August 28, 1989, from Major John M. Watson wherein our opinion is sought concerning numerous compensation issues relating to highway constriction projects. This request was thereafter amended by Major Watson's letter dated June 6, 1990. This general subject was previously addressed in out May 16, 1988, opinion. (Exhibit A). Our opinions on the issues now being raised are set forth below.
I. Travel Time To and From Highway Construction
Your first question involves the situation where Troopers may have received payment for their regular State Police duties and also received one-half hour of overtime pay for travel to or travel from highway construction project jobs. You inquire as to whether the payment for regular State Police duties during that overlapping time period must be recovered from the Troopers and, if so, by what means. Please be advised that this issue was addressed in our May 16, 1988 opinion. (exhibit A, pp.2-4).
Accordingly, our prior opinion is controlling.
II. Early Departure From Highway Construction Project Assignments
Your second question seeks our advice on possible duplicate payments for Troopers for highway construction project jobs and regular State Police work. Your letter describes a scenario where incorrect time reports filed on highway construction projects may have resulted in payment to Troopers from those projects when the Troopers were actually performing their regular State Police duties.
The scenario presented describes a situation in which Troopers are paid for work not performed. The monies utilized in making these payments are State and Federal funds. There may even be situations in which there is municipal financial participation. We recommend that the individual instances of such activity be investigated.
III. Recovery of Overpayments
You have requested our guidance on whether the Department can execute voluntary payroll deduction agreements with the Troopers who have received compensation overpayments. In our opinion, it is permissible for the Department to enter into voluntary payroll deduction agreements if it is not otherwise prohibited by the applicable collective bargaining agreement. See: 88 Conn. Op. Atty. Gen. (March 30, 1988); Conn. Op. Atty. Gen. (December 22, 1983) (Exhibit B).
Very truly yours,
CLARINE NARDI RIDDLE
Peter E. Wiese
Assistant Attorney General