New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro today announced the arrest and arraignment of a state employee who allegedly abdicated her assigned role during New York’s unprecedented response to the COVID-19 crisis last year. Instead of overseeing the receipt, storage and shipment of lifesaving supplies at a Capital Region warehouse, the worker left or failed to show at her post for hours at a time.
Nancy Connolly, 52, of Schenectady, was a resident engineer at the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) assigned to work as a staging manager at Colonie’s Jupiter warehouse on evenings and weekends as part of New York State’s emergency COVID response. She was arraigned in Colonie Town Court before Hon. David R. Green on charges of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (Felony), Offering a False Instrument of Filing (Felony), and Official Misconduct (Misdemeanor).
During last year’s statewide effort to secure equipment and materials to fight COVID-19, state employees were deployed across the state. Those working as staging managers at warehouses were required to be on-site through September 5, 2020, to assist in overseeing, tracking and securing shipments of donated and purchased equipment, including ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other critical materials. This job required on-site presence and could not be done remotely.
The Inspector General’s investigation determined that in June 2020, Connolly sought and obtained entire days’ worth of overtime pay when she was not physically present for her scheduled duties as a staging manager. Specifically, Connolly earned $2,265 in overtime pay for purported work on June 7, 20 and 21.
The Inspector General’s investigation included testimony from Connolly’s supervisor and coworkers, as well as reviewing cell phone, text and email records that established her location at various times when she was supposed to be at the warehouse. The same records indicate that Connolly was not performing work duties during the times she was scheduled to be at the warehouse.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, state employees have risen well above their station to provide selfless assistance for New York’s unparalleled response to COVID-19,” said Inspector General Tagliafierro. “The overwhelming number of these workers embody the best of New York’s spirit of public service in times of need. Unfortunately, however, some individuals attempted to take advantage of the crisis and rip off taxpayers for time they never worked. This office will not tolerate such abuses and we will continue to ensure the integrity of our state’s response to this pandemic.”
Inspector General Tagliafierro thanked DOT for its cooperation in the investigation, the New York State Police for conducting the arrest and the Albany County District Attorney’s Office for handling the prosecution.
The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.