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Review finds fiscal problems with clemency board

justiceFour current and former members of the state Board of Executive Clemency are each owed about $2,000 in overtime pay, but some are being told they owe the state retirement system even larger amounts.

Sloppy bookkeeping at the clemency board also means that taxpayers must pay about $27,000 to the retirement system for the state’s contributions for the members and an intern, The Arizona Republic reported Thursday.

The current and former board members had complained to the Department of Administration that they didn’t receive overtime for extra work they did to whittle down a case backlog.

The department’s resulting review found that to be true, but it also found that retirement contributions hadn’t been made by the members or the board as their employer.

The biggest payment due is nearly $12,000 from current board member Jack LaSota, a former state attorney general, for pension contributions the board failed to deduct from his pay since the 2009-10 fiscal year.

LaSota said he’s unsure he owes any money. He said his age, 71, means he falls under a state law not requiring workers hired after age 65 to join the retirement system.

However, LaSota said if he is forced to make the retirement payment, he will do so and get the money back when he leaves the board.

A former board chairman and executive director denied that the other members were owed overtime pay, but current Chairman and Executive Director Brian Livingston said the state investigation confirmed board members were not paid for work they had done.

“It clears up a lot of misinformation that had been placed out from a variety of sources,” Livingston said. “The public is now aware of how much work this board has done.”

Livingston said he was unsure how his agency would make the employer contribution to the retirement system. It might require legislative action to fix the problem, he said.

The Department of Administration says Livingston owes the retirement system $5,906, while former board member Melvin Thomas owes $5,915. They joined the board after LaSota.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

One comment

  1. Yeah, but what about the fact that Arizona’s oldest death row inmate, Edward Schad, was executed just this past Wednesday on the basis of a second conviction for the same murder in 1985, after the former 1979 conviction was thrown out. So much for the prohibitions against double jeopardy! Schad maintained his innocence to the end, and the priest administering last rites who knew the inmate since the 1980s, attests that he cannot be sure that he did in fact kill the victim in.

    To my way of thinking, this development is highly disturbing in light of a front page article in the October 7 edition of the Arizona Daily Star titled “State says execution should go forward”. This article, relating to Schad’s scheduled execution, documents the fact that Gov Brewer fired the former 3-person clemency board because she disagreed with several of the board’s recommendations for clemency and ordered the executions to proceed. At the end of the terms of the former board, she replaced the members with new appointees more in turn with her personal biases. Further details are available in my October 8 Tucson Citizen column titled “Gov Brewer plays with inmates lives by stacking clemency board”. You can access this article at http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/healing-tucson – it’s at the top of my page

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