Caseworkers Punished for Refusal to File Finance Forms; A Year after State Department of Human Services Officials Vowed to Crack Down on Welfare Caseworkers Who Refused to File Forms Detailing Their Personal Finances, 22 of the Workers Have Been Punished, Records Show. [Derived Headline]

By Andren, Kari | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 15, 2016 | Go to article overview

Caseworkers Punished for Refusal to File Finance Forms; A Year after State Department of Human Services Officials Vowed to Crack Down on Welfare Caseworkers Who Refused to File Forms Detailing Their Personal Finances, 22 of the Workers Have Been Punished, Records Show. [Derived Headline]


Andren, Kari, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


A year after state Department of Human Services officials vowed to crack down on welfare caseworkers who refused to file forms detailing their personal finances, 22 of the workers have been punished, records show.

Despite the punishments, the problem of caseworkers failing to file the forms persists, according to Rob Caruso, executive director of the state Ethics Commission.

Last year, Caruso's agency began clamping down on "income maintenance caseworkers," county-based employees who evaluate whether welfare applicants are eligible for benefits, such as food stamps or cash assistance.

In response to a Tribune-Review story about the crackdown, Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas called some workers' repeated refusal to file "simply not acceptable" and laid out a road map of punishments -- including termination -- for workers who continued to flout the law.

The financial disclosure forms, filed by about 30,000 public officials and state employees, provide information about employment, creditors and gifts received on the job. They aim to offer transparency, which is particularly crucial when it comes to workers doling out public funds, said Rob Caruso, the commission's executive director.

Although Dallas' crackdown has helped, the problem continues, Caruso said.

"There has been some improvement," he said, but the caseworkers were -- and still are -- the largest single job title failing to file.

Eight workers received a written reprimand and one got a one-day suspension -- the first two rungs on the disciplinary ladder -- for failing to file their 2014 disclosures, said Kait Gillis, spokeswoman for human services department.

There had been 397 caseworkers turned over to the Ethics Commission for not filing disclosures, accounting for nearly half of the 798 state employees from all departments who failed to file, said Caruso.

Only 188 of the caseworkers were current employees and all but eight filed before the human services department sent written reprimands in October. Those eight have since filed, Gillis said. …

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Caseworkers Punished for Refusal to File Finance Forms; A Year after State Department of Human Services Officials Vowed to Crack Down on Welfare Caseworkers Who Refused to File Forms Detailing Their Personal Finances, 22 of the Workers Have Been Punished, Records Show. [Derived Headline]
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