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California Prison Employee Paid $500,000 To Settle Whistleblower Retaliation Suit

The California Department of Cor¬rections (CDC) settled an employee whistleblower retaliation suit for $500,000 in October, 2004. CDC admitted it had additionally spent $300,000 in legal fees fighting the claim.

Richard Krupp, formerly the chief of CDC’s Personnel Automation Section, after being rebuffed by his supervisors on his plan to cut down on overtime and sick leave cost abuses he observed, took his complaint to the state Bureau of Audits. In January, 2000, the audit bureau reported that CDC’s mismanagement of sick and overtime leave was costing taxpayers $17 million per year. Krupp, directed to respond to the audit bureau’s report, found that the true costs were instead a much higher $105 million for fiscal year 1999-2000.

Krupp’s reward for his exposé was a transfer to another job where all he did was read college students’ proposals to interview prisoners. The state Inspector General and the state Personnel Board characterized the transfer as retaliatory; Krupp sued CDC in 2002. In June, 2004, his wife, a CDC Correc¬tional Captain, added her related complaint when she mysteriously became the subject of an internal affairs charge on June 18, 2004 regarding one of her employee’s having taken a state vehicle home.

In reaching the $500,000 settlement, CDC admitted no wrongdoing. The inves¬tigation against Krupp’s wife was dropped. Krupp, who had been a star witness testify¬ing before the California Senate in March 2004 about problems within CDC, still works for CDC in the Office of Substance Abuse Programs. He lamented, “Unfor¬tunately, it took a lot of time and effort, and the taxpayers have been paying for all this stuff.” But it appears they have been paying 200 times as much annually for the alleged overtime and sick leave abuses he uncovered.

Sources: Sacramento Bee; Contra Costa Times.

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