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Following Cop’s Arrest, Newton Urges Audit Of Police Overtime

February 14th, 2018 · 49 Comments · City Council, Law Enforcement, News and Events

police department

Bridgeport PD

Following the arrest of a 34-year veteran of the Police Department for allegedly stealing overtime money, City Councilman Ernie Newton says an audit should go back many years to determine the depth of the abuses.

“I’ve gotta think he’s not the first one to do this,” said Newton who says he’ll introduce a resolution calling on a comprehensive audit to review overtime history. “The key here is to make sure we have safeguards in place.”

Lieutenant Stephen Shuck was charged on Tuesday with first degree larceny in connection with fabricating overtime. City records show Shuck earned $128,972–including $23,737 in overtime–in 2017.

Excessive overtime spending has been a department issue for years, but this case warrants a new set of scrutiny, says Newton including a review of supervisors who signed off on Shuck’s overtime.

“This is a very sad day for me,” Police Chief AJ Perez told the CT Post. “Lt. Shuck was a classmate of mine, we came on the department at the same time–but my job is to protect the citizens of this city and to uphold the integrity of the Police Department, and that is what I’m doing.”

The charges against Shuck includes putting in for overtime when he was off the job.

Perez said when he learned of the allegations internally he ordered a criminal investigation and shared the information with State’s Attorney John Smriga whose office drew up an arrest warrant.

Shuck was arrested at his Stratford home after calling in sick.

Newton says he will call upon the mayor’s office and city finance officials to determine a course of action to conduct an audit. The City Council serves as the city’s legislative body and also approves the spending plan submitted by the mayor during the budget process.

Shuck is represented by criminal defense attorney John Gulash.

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49 Comments so far ↓

  • Bob Walsh

    In private businesses all OT must be approved by their immediate supervisor. Their immediate supervisor’s OT, oh wait a minute, most supervisors are exempt and do not get paid OT.
    There’s your solution. Plain and simple.
    Now let’s see how far this idea goes.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    There should be a complete audit of the police department from top to bottom. Whoever signed off on this crooks OT should be demoted and suspended. the OT for specific groups should be audited twice. How did he get away with stealing so much money with out being caught earlier. i hope this jerk does time.
    There is a solution to this OT problem with supervisors : Here is an example:
    The Lieutenant books off sick instead of paying OT make the sgt acting LT and make a patrolmen acting Sgt and to fill the patrolmen’s spot take one of the paper shufflers and put them on patrol.
    Here is another one who monitors sick time and who monitors vacation time.How many cops are getting more time off than they have earned and the same goes for sick leave.
    This is a systemic problem brought on by these cops all knowing each other . the deputy chief is friends with patrolmen and so forth. The upper management of the police department needs to come from outside the department. The did that with chief Nardozzi but he wasnt a good old boy so they got rid of him. He is suing the city and will win. Clean fucking house

  • Coach T

    I never agree with Newton……But he is right here….AUDIT …….can of worms will be more like a drum of lizards

  • DC Faber

    At my job our busy season is November and December. Each week our leadership gets an OT report which is reviewed and shared with the managers to be vetted. There should be an oversight committee (maybe out of the CC) that reviews OT reports. As Andy wrote you cannot trust the police to audit themselves so it needs to be an outside group.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    The winds of change are blowing…

  • Donald Day

    I’m at a loss Coach what would the CC gleam from an OT report other than Who worked and maybe how many hours and how much paid. They wouldn’t know if the person on said report really worked like Lt Shuck. This has to be handled eternally, whether or not a person indeed worked or Not.

    • Ron Mackey

      Don, overtime in large numbers comes from poor management of their workforce. As you point out there are enteral issues with overtimes such as injury, vacation, holidays illness are the issues that come into play for overtime plus minimum and maximum manpower by contract.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Donald,
    As a whistleblower or watchdog here in the City for a few years now, the first thing you realize is that in very few places in the City is an evaluation, review or modest inquiry on whether a job got done and perhaps done well, and finally whether the specific hours required were provided.

    You say this has to be handled “eternally” and did that mean that there is a Supreme Power checking things on Earth? Or were you looking for someone to be tasked with checking out others within a department, in which case you might call it ‘internally’.

    By the way when Overtime is necessary for handling routine matters that may have spiked, but must be handled by a trained police officer, it is one thing. But when will we begin looking at external overtime in the Police Department where certain tasks require fewer skills and training than when you use officers whose full time duties are already fully met before going to external OT where they are being paid at a rate of 150% OR GREATER AND OVERTIME IN YOUR BASE EARNING YEARS CREATES RETIREMENT BENEFITS IN LATER YEARS, BUT NOT BECAUSE OUTSIDE EMPLOYERS ARE FUNDING IT. Just the TAXPAYERS!!!! wHY IS Labor Relations so reticent to tell the public the cost of each new labor settlement over the first five years?? Could it be that it is only because we have never done it that way before? Or could it be that the Mayor hasn’t instructed them to share info with the public because he is too busy running for Governor? Time will tell.

    • Black Rockin

      So let me get this straight, I’m retired yet I pay a lot of my pension
      Into taxes. I move out of Bridgeport to Stratford, sit on a couch, watch dectitive movies, and Bridgeport pays me $ 4,100.00 to watch T.V.
      Mr. Ganim, Chief Perez.
      Where do I apply….?..
      Judge of court, of the day, take the blindfold let me see how.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Sharing it with the public is fine from a PR point of view but getting to the root evil is another matter and requires an outside look at OT, sick time vacation time by an outside accounting firm. Its quite obvious that this job is above the management level presently in place in the PD. When you consider that 2 deputy chiefs alone cost us in excess of $280,00 in just salary you can hire any accounting firm you want to monitor this situation.It is obvious to me that this job is above Chief Perez and his 2 deputies. I would venture to say there is more than one of these thieves in the department and I would venture to say this is not the first years it has happened.
    \I was always for promotions to the Chiefs job from with in but what I have seen after these last few years has led me to change my mind. The chief should come from the outside and should be allowed to name his 2 deputies that answer to him and not the union.

  • Tom White

    Does anyone recall the expression “we will solve no crime unless it is on overtime”?

    Do you recall the management study of the Police Department done separately from the MAC (Management Advisory Committee) study in the late 1980s?

    It exposed extreme inefficiencies that were built into the table of organization, the command structure, reporting procedures, etc, on and on.

    Recommendations were made to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Some were embraced and implemented, but most were fought tooth and nail by the union.

    To this day, the command structure and operating procedures create overtime. Some would argue it is intentional and by design.

    • Ron Mackey

      Tom White, on this one I’m in agreement with you. I’ve mention the MAC (Management Advisory Committee) study in the late 1980s to JML and few of the new council members because it’s the master plan for the city. JML plays it off like it’s no big thing.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Don’t know how my name came to mind with regards to the MAC report. Where do you have me indicating that it is “no big thing”?

        Ron Mackey, in a City with a Charter that provides the Mayor with greater power than any other player in the system i.e. weak City Council structure and no independent elected bi-partisan Finance Board, who sets the “big things” on an agenda or priority list or five year plan??? The Mayor, of course. Where is Ganim2′s list for public attention and personal accomplishment? Why is his daily compass pointed towards Hartford? Time will tell.

        • Ron Mackey

          JML, it’s easy why your name came up, you are questioning the police overtime, well that’s address in the Mac Report and direction on how to save money with the staffing and manpower issues in both the police and fire department.

          • John Marshall Lee

            Where’s the “no big thing” that you accuse me of? Talking about overtime issues or problems, calling them to light? Do you not see that as community service? Or are you saying that the MAC report has most of the answers, and has been ignored for years by Mayors, City Council persons and plain taxpayers, except for you? And Tom White? Or did you just have some extra ire on hand, and decided to throw some at me to relieve yourself?
            Overtime issues include:
            Civil Service and Police planning for classes that are regular to provide trainee replacements when retirements begin to be possible?
            Awareness of how many or how rapidly current officer group is approaching 100% retirement benefits, that will have to be paid by City, and if current actuarial assumption funded by current bonding is inadequate? More taxpayer expense?
            Good research and study of alternatives (including Ordinance changes and contract modifications) to see whether some or all of External Overtime can be handled differently? Perhaps Mr. Paris can assist with this? TIME WILL TELL.

          • Ron Mackey

            JML, Phil Smith has spoken on the issue in the past. This study dealt with everything in the running and the financing of Bridgeport.

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            They didn’t deal with it, Ron. If they had zloeutenent Shuck ouldn’t have been found sitting at home watching ESPN while he was supposed to be working to close open criminal investigations.

        • John Marshall Lee

          Ron Mackey:
          “no big thing”?????? Answer need not include Phil Smith, Tom White or other serious commentator on City matters including yourself. Answer should include where you draw a conclusion that I consider the subject “no big thing”? For real, man? Or just messing around? Time will tell.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    One is given pause to wonder how mny other officers are pimping off OT.

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    Oh Please … Years ago, a City Attorney was dating a police officer, who called in sick, when a near retirement officer needed more overtime to bump up their retirement pay. Didn’t sit well with the city attorney, because the officer was not ill, was told by the officer it was standard practice on the force, it was expected of newer hires. City employee raged about that practice and the outrageous police overtime budget for years until the police endorsed JG2. Suddenly became a non issue. It’s been know about and ignored by the city for years.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Jennifer you stated that the incident happened years ago well that is pure unmitigated bullshit. Up until 3 or 4 years ago police and fire pensions were based on the BASE PAY of the rank the person was retiring at. Overtime did not figure into your retirement package. Get it straight

      • John Marshall Lee

        Andy the current labor contract governing Police Department covered 2012-2016 and was signed in 2015 I believe. City has been in negotiation with PD since then with an offer that was turned down by PD officers voting. Into another phase, but these dates may be helpful to your discussion. The current plan that was turned down maintained the MERS move, provided by the 2015 signing, and still has language prohibiting the City from passing along the full cost of external overtime (including recovery of full pension overtime expense to the hiring outside firm. Why is the Union shoving it to the taxpayers in this regard? What external hours are street repair and what hours for other duty? Time will tell.

      • Jennifer Buchanan

        So it was within the last 4 years – which makes it years ago. However I can understand why you take issue with years ago.

  • Donald Day

    The relevancy of the article had to do with Shuck putting himself in for OT while being at home and not working and had absolutely nothing to do with whether he was entitled to work or how much he worked. How much of that $23,000 in OT that he earned in 2017 was earned while being at home and not working? How many others earned OT money while being at home like Lt Shuck and not working?

    Don’t let ego, hyperbole or rhetoric get in the way of asking the key question, how was a person at home while being paid OVERTIME, how often did this happen and how many others are participating in this activity.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Why isn’t anyone commending A.J Perez for investigating ? Commending Ernie Newton for asking for an audit?

    This is a black eye to the entire police dept. There is no question that there is an abuse of overtime but there are more police officers that go to work everyday like firemen, putting their lives on the line,and loving their job that do not abuse the system. The officer in question, after 34 years , must be totally humiliated. “If ” he is convicted? 20 years in jail and losing his pension? I would imagine others that abuse the system will think twice. Maybe not.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Steven, we are probably the only two OIB posters who hae taken the time to look at the full picture. Police personnel are the most scrutinized of all city employees. Very few Police positions provide an open door for slacking on the job. The Office of Internal Affair is always watching and investigates all complaints and allegations. OIA is known to be on duty 24/07/365. It is not unusual for OIA investigators to be out at 3 a.m. checking up on officers working the midnight shift. They even go to the officer’s home to check if they’re there. There are sufficient safeguards in place to aoid these types of incidents. The best and most dangerous of safeguard in my opinion, is officers themseles–all it takes is one of them filing a complaint with OIA.

      Why isn’t anyone commending A.J Perez for investigating?
      Are you kidding Steen? Hell hasn’t frozen over yet.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Auerbach & Gonzales are you 2 kidding this happened on perez’x watch and if IA is out at all hours why did it take this long to catch this guy. BTW who monitors IA’s overtime.

  • Jimfox

    Maybe the guy was home to do paper work, what’s wrong with that?

  • Stringfellow

    You have to wonder if there is something going on here why did they target this Officer? The last posting of top earners for 2016 were two sergeants and two captains, supervisors.

    In 2017 one captain two lieutenants one captain and a police Officer. Four of the other top earners were pays outs were for retirements. Unused sick days,vacation ect.

    So you have to wonder if there is something else going on we do not know about. Perhaps the word coup is too strong a word but did anyone do an audit to see what a captain and sergeant did to make their money? After all these Officers are supervisors.

    Perhaps the investigation into Shuck was personal and was by design to get rid of him and based on the paper the reassignment of the captain in the detective bureau too. Perez said that was not the case with the captain.

    This could be far reaching than any of us know. Clearly there has to more to the story.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Are you fucking kidding? You sound like a scumbag lawyer. Did you ever think that people were looking for him at work and could not find him where he should have been. I dont give a damn why there was an investigation the point is he got caught stealing period

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        String fellow is suggesting there may be more to this than just the one detective. Don’t stop at the OT. Look into who is on the clock but not on the job.

        By and large the men and women of the Bridgeport Police Department are thoroughly professional. That fact is admirable given the the usual suspects they have to deal with. This abuse of public trust is appalling and not representative of the BPD.

  • Mojo

    *** Independent State Audit may find more cookies missing from the city cookie jar that were not accounted for on the 2017, “in-house or out-side” O.T monthly records paperwork!***

  • Stringfellow

    Mojo what I am suggesting is how does a captain and a sergeant make over 200k? What did they do work everyday? Why them?

    Why did they target Lt. Shuck not that I am saying he was right what he did. There may be something else at work none of here knows about. Let’s see how it shakes out in the end.

    The issue will not be solved here.

  • Stringfellow

    Sure looks that way Kid. If they are serious about an internal audit start with every department and see what the overtime was for what was done on overtime that could not be on straight straight time?

    Today’s paper mentions Perez will be 2 million over budget by June 30th. Can this overrun be curbed by proper staffing? Is the department going to fix that?

    Look at the staffing of the department and see if there is way to curb overtime by filling vacant positions. Are there some Officers doing jobs that could be done by a civilian?

    You can understand an Officer or detective working extra they may be working with a utility company or filling a vacancy by another Officer or detective.

    You have to look what a sergeant and above does to make the money some of them do. Couldn’t they delegate some work to a lesser rank?

    In today’s paper Shuck’s take home car was in his driveway. His driveway is at home. No doubt Shuck being at home on the day the results of the Negron shooting looks bad.

    Based on the paper he made 94. 7% of his calls from home. How many other supervisors make calls on their city owned phones from their homes? Ernie’s right he was caught but he can’t be the only one who has done this.

    None of us will know how much this investigation cost in overtime. Too bad that just did not bring this to his attention and give him a chance to pay what he “took” and retire with some dignity.

    In the days and weeks more details will emerge on this and what is going to done to stop it.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      It’s time for the Department of Justice to investigate corruption in the Bridgeport Police Department, and this IS corruption. Any officer in a supervisory position pimping OT is setting a very bad example for subordinates.

    • Ron Mackey

      One of the big cost savings measures in the Mac Report was in the staffing in the police and fire with the elimination of the deputies chiefs in each department and how they can be replaced
      .

    • flubadub

      Retire with some dignity? You are delusional. Where was the dignity in his actions? He violated his oath as a police officer and should suffer the consequences.

  • Mojo

    You can be sure that there’s more than 1 fox in that P.D hen-house, no?

  • Stringfellow

    Oh yes I would not bet against it.

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