October 8, 2009

Peter R. Blum, Chairman
Linda Yelmini
Sal Luciano

Jeanne Kopek, Assistant Director, Retirement & Benefit Services Division
Tracy Johnson, Parole and Community Services manager, Department of Correction

The meeting began at about 1:00.

The item on the agenda was a request from Tracy Johnson, a Department of Correction (DOC) employee and current member of the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) Tier II hazardous duty retirement plan, for coverage under the hazardous duty provisions of SERS for her employment with DOC from October 1, 1989 through December 10, 1992 as a Correctional Identification and Records Specialist 1.

Dan Callahan, Director of Human Resources at DOC, was provided with a copy of Ms. Johnson's request and on September 18, 2009 wrote to the Division to advise that he did not agree with Ms. Johnson's representation that the duties she performed meet the standard for hazardous duty coverage as defined in the Connecticut General Statutes governing SERS. He also provided as documentation an October 15, 1992 memo from the Department of Administrative Services to former DOC HR Director, Maria Houser, denying a request for clerical unpleasant duty pay for Ms. Johnson (formerly Tracy Elderkin) as her position was not located within an area where constant free movement of inmates occurred.

Ms. Johnson advised that during the employment in question she was located inside a correctional facility and exposed to some risk regardless of the location of her office due to the nature of the work. From 1989 to 1992 she was at Manson Youth where she was routinely in and out of the facility delivering paperwork and responding to inmates questions.

Ms. Yelmini explained that Ms. Johnson needed to show that she engaged in guard or instructional duties in order to receive a hazardous duty designation. In response, Ms. Johnson indicated that she did instruct inmates with respect to questions regarding their sentence calculation. In response to a trustee's follow-up question she indicated that these duties accounted for approximately 2% to 3% of her time.

Ms. Johnson further advised that offenders were always in the area of records and that she may instruct as to what they were doing at the time. During this time there may or may not have been guards in the area at the same time. She indicated that she was needed in emergencies but did no respond to code.

Ms. Yelmini explained that a similar request had been previously received from a Susan Shepherd also employed at DOC in the Correctional Identification and Records Specialist 1 and asked Ms. Johnson if her duties were similar to Ms. Shepherd's. Ms. Johnson indicated that her duties were probably similar to Susan Shepherd's but she was not sure.

Mr. Yelmini moved, seconded by Mr. Luciano that the subcommittee recommend denial of Ms. Johnson's request for hazardous duty service credit during her employment with DOC from October 1, 1989 through December 10, 1992 as a Correctional Identification and Records Specialist 1 as her duties did not meet the statutory definition of hazardous duty.

The subcommittee voted unanimously to approve the motion.

The meeting adjourned at about 2:00 p.m.

Return to Meetings, Agendas and Minutes Home Page
Return to Comptroller's Home Page