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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

DAN LYNCH TO JUDICIARY COMMITTEE "COURT REPORTERS DOUBLE DIPPING!"

Dan Lynch's Testimony in Opposition to Raised S.B. No. 844
AN ACT CONCERNING LEGAL TRANSCRIPT REQUIREMENTS AND THE FEES CHARGED BY COURT REPORTERS.

This proposed Bill, as currently drafted, purports to amend Chapter 874 of the General Statutes, the Chapter titled “Court Reporters,” and which also by reference is impacted by C.G.S. § 51-12 (Chapter 870, Judicial Department).
  • This proposed Bill conflicts with numerous statutes which prevent state employees from conducting private business while on state paid time, using state owned equipment and supplies and from within state facilities

  • For more than a decade, Connecticut taxpayers have been defrauded by the illegal practices being condoned by and within the Connecticut Judicial Branch whereby certain of its employees are being allowed to “double dip,” collecting hourly pay (including benefits and pension) while simultaneously charging additional fees for transcription services rendered for private and public parties during that same time

  • Comprehensive review of the entire Chapter 874 is needed to ensure it comports with legal and ethical requirements, as well as current capabilities of technology

  • For more than a decade, some have sought to profit from loopholes in existing statutes which have not kept pace with the significant advancements in technology, as well as the changes regarding hiring of court personnel vs. per diem contractors

The Judicial Branch has known, but remained largely silent as to the highly questionable ethical and legal practices concerning state employees:

o conducting private enterprise while on state paid time
conducting private enterprise from within state facilities (courthouses) 
o conducting private enterprise using state owned equipment and office supplies
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QUESTIONS REGARDING THIS PROPOSED LEGISLATION:
  1. Which members of the Judiciary Committee have raised S.B. No.844?
  2. What is the specific rationale being used to allow and codify into our statutes an abusive and illegal practice which should be terminated?
  3. What is the justification for allowing state employees to profit incrementally from the very work product that is already created and owned by the public?
Committee on Court Recording Monitors and Court Reporters (November 4, 2010)
https://www.jud.ct.gov/Committees/pst/court_rep/Final_Report.pdf

Whistleblower Complaint (May 21, 2015)
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8b75uSVYHH-OGdyd05Dc2ExWWs

Yankee Institute for Public Policy (Marc E. Fitch, March 7, 2018)
https://www.yankeeinstitute.org/2018/03/audit-finds-court-reporters-make-extra-1-million-in-side-work-boosting-salaries-and-pensions/

CT-N Coverage of Joint Legislative Committee (State Auditor’s Reports, July 9, 2018)

2 comments:

  1. "Court reporters and monitors have been paid more than $1 million since fiscal year 2012 performing work for private parties on state time, which padded their salaries and pensions, according to a state audit."

    The above quote is from an article published 3/9/18 in the Journal Inquirer, by Eric Bedner, quoting from auditors' report. If money earned by court reporters/monitors from producing transcripts, particularly for private parties and lawyers, is being calculated into their pensions, that would be serious fraud--not only on the People of Connecticut, but also on other pensioners--since the under-funding of pensions is one of CT's biggest concerns. This was also a concern of former SC Justice Joette Katz in her report on court reporters/monitors to former Chief Justice Rogers.

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  2. The article by Marc Fitch of Yankee states at the bottom: “This article was amended to show work for private parties does not count toward pensions.” The auditors’ report he links to says:
    “During the fiscal years 2012-2013 through 2015-2016, the Judicial Branch paid the court reporters/monitors a total of $1,111,065 in fees for transcripts, ordered by the Judicial Branch, in addition to their regular salaries. Court reporters and monitors also received fees for transcripts produced on state time for other state agencies and private parties, the amounts of which are not readily identifiable. Effect: Additional compensation for transcripts from the Judicial Department and other state agencies has the effect of increasing the employees’ annual salaries and their state pensions.” If the amount of fees collected for “other state agencies and private parties” is “not readily identifiable”, how do they separate the fees for “other state agencies” from the fees for “private parties” to ascertain that “work for private parties does not count toward pensions”?

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