State police sought to destroy Logan pay records

Request denied because of investigations into scandals

STATE POLICE OFFICIALS tried to destroy 12 boxes of payroll files for detail and roster assignments involving its embattled division at Logan Airport but were blocked because of the ongoing investigation into overtime abuse that has rocked the department and triggered dozens of retirements.

Maj. Charles Atchison of Logan’s Troop F submitted a form to the state’s Records Conservation Board last month, as required by law, seeking permission to destroy detail and roster assignments from 2009 through 2012. The request, signed by Joanne Carney, who holds the title of program coordinator, was submitted to the board on September. 14.

But at the board’s monthly meeting on October 3, the members voted to table the request. The chairman of the board is Assistant Attorney General Lorraine Tarrow, who oversees that office’s public records division, and a spokeswoman for the attorney general said the decision centered around the ongoing investigation into payroll abuse at several divisions, including Troop F.

In March, the Boston Globe reported that members of Troop F earned hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by working massive overtime shifts. The Globe also reported the exorbitant earnings were hidden from public scrutiny for years and not reported to the state comptroller’s office, as required by law.

The state police have been reeling since spring when it was revealed members of Troop E, which is charged with patrolling the Massachusetts Turnpike, were under investigation for embezzlement and fraud for collecting overtime for shifts they either didn’t work at all or only partially worked. Investigations were launched by the US attorney, Attorney General Maura Healey as well as the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, which oversees the department.

Six troopers were indicted, at least another 40 are under investigation, and Gov. Charlie Baker and Col. Kerry Gilpin, the head of the State Police, instituted a series of reforms including disbanding the unit. The president of the State Police union also has resigned amid reports federal investigators were looking at the union’s records

David Procopio, a spokesman for the State Police did not have a comment on the request to destroy the files but insisted the issues at Troop F were separate from those involving troopers from the Mass.Pike.

“Our investigation is focused on Troop E, not Troop F,” Procopio said in an email. “Troop F was scrutinized for high salaries driven by a reliance on overtime (which we have been working to reduce), but there was no allegation or evidence of overtime fraud as there was in Troop E (which we have disbanded). Everything we have seen supports that Troop F members were working the hours for which they were paid, which is not the case for certain Troop E members.”

But the records board apparently was concerned enough to put at least a temporary halt to the disposal of the records. By law, all public records must be retained for varying periods of time. According to a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, the mandate for state payroll records is six years, which would have allowed the 2012 records to be destroyed if approved.

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Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

Healey’s spokeswoman said the board did not believe it was appropriate to allow the destruction in light of the ongoing criminal investigations and internal audits. Procopio insisted officials followed the regulations in seeking to dispose the records and said they were not pertinent to any investigation.

“The recent requests made to the Board are in compliance with the Secretary’s retention schedule and the records, due to their age, are not currently the subject of any outside investigation or audit,” he said. “None of the records in question have been destroyed and in light of current ongoing investigations pertaining to similar records, the State Police will retain past payroll records until further notice.”