Sometimes I still marvel at the wonders of the internet. The Republican-American supplemented their latest article about the Jarjura-Davino unemployment scandal in today's paper by putting the documents relating to the case online. Anyone can read them and come to their own conclusions.
Here's my understanding of the basic chronology of the case (with links to corresponding documents):
In April 2010, the Waterbury Police began investigating Joseph Davino after learning that he was using city workers on city time to do work for his vending machine business and to work on his home.
About two weeks later, at the end of April, Davino submitted his resignation letter, citing his father's health as the primary reason and his own health as a secondary reason. He submitted the resignation letter to Mayor Jarjura, not to Leo Frank at WDC. Davino was employed at WDC and paid with money given to WDC by the City.
Two weeks after that, on May 13, Davino was arrested. He was charged with second degree larceny and defrauding the city of Waterbury.
At some point after submitting his resignation letter, Davino applied for unemployment benefits. He was denied unemployment on August 10, 2010 on the grounds that he "voluntarily left suitable work without good cause attributable to the employer." His employer was determined to be WDC.
On October 13, 2010, Mayor Jarjura sent a letter to the Appeals Division stating that "the job in question was being eliminated. I so advised Mr. Davino and the position was in fact eliminated in the new budget."
Bear in mind that the new budget was submitted in June, after Davino resigned and was arrested.
Davino's unemployment appeal hearing was held on October 14, 2010. The day before, on October 13, Davino appeared before Judge Richard Damiani and was granted an accelerated rehabilitation program as "punishment" for his felony offense resulting from his criminal job performance. The felony charge was not erased from his record until a year later, after he completed his probation.
During his appeal hearing, it was determined that his job was going to be eliminated (based on Jarjura's letter) and that the "employer maintained no issues regarding the claimant's job performance." The document does not specify who that employer was. Was that employer Jarjura? Whoever it was, how can he justify stating that there were no issues with Davino's job performance? His job performance was so terrible, he was arrested and charged with a felony.
Because Jarjura submitted that letter, and because the Appeals Division was not informed of Davino's criminal job performance, he was granted unemployment benefits of just over $500 a week. Thanks to the recession, Davino will have mostly likely qualified for 99 weeks of unemployment, a total of about $50,000.
At last night's Board of Aldermen hearing, city attorney Craig Sullivan insisted at great length that the Board of Aldermen have no legal right to discuss the documents now available online. He based this on the ground that Davino had been an employee of WDC, not of the City of Waterbury. Which, in my mind, raises a big question, or maybe draws attention to a contradiction. If the Mayor of Waterbury had the authority to intervene on Davino's behalf to help him get unemployment, why doesn't the Board of Aldermen have the authority to decide if that intervention was appropriate?
I find it very disturbing that the city's lawyer is trying to prevent the Board of Aldermen from investigating possible cronyism on the part of the Mayor. If the Board of Aldermen can't look into possible political corruption on the part of the Mayor, who can?
Another question--where is Larry DePillo in all this? He's being very quiet for a watchdog always on the lookout for corruption and waste.
It may not matter in the end. Democrat candidate for Aldermen Greg Hadley alerted the Department of Labor to the situation last week after the Republican-American published the story about Jarjura helping Davino get his unemployment. If the Department of Labor looks into this and finds a problem, well, they are the ultimate authority in this situation, and they certainly can't be accused of being politically motivated.