WRKO>Audio & Video on Demand>>Shaunna O'Connell On Shake Up At The Welfar Office

Shaunna O'Connell On Shake Up At The Welfar Office

Feb 1, 2013|

Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Daniel J. Curley has resigned in the wake of a report that 47,000 families receiving taxpayer-funded benefits are unaccounted for — and nearly $30 million in food stamp money went to recipients who were not eligible. We spoke with Massachusetts State Rep. and welfare watch dog Shaunna O'Connell who has been on top of welfare reform from day one...

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

Yesterday at this time we we were talking about the impact. Commissioner of the department of transitional assistance. The end curly. In about how one now the a state inspector general was reporting that that the 25 million dollars had been had been not wasted on the welfare recipients. Who didn't meet the requirements or maybe didn't even exist. Well guess what now it turns out that Daniel Curley is no longer the -- adult. Welfare chief he has the X welfare chief he's been removed. And it also turns out that the 191000. Anecdotes that Governor Patrick was talking about the people who who who while were missing from the welfare rolls. There aren't there aren't 191000 anecdotes there are now 47000. Anecdotes with banished from the welfare rolls. Joining us again is represented Sean O'Connell from a -- in the Irish and Sean this is a we are surprised to hear that. Hey you know it is they bout time rally helped save the taxpayers. Where is today. We did attack -- west -- you know violate and I mean they've been attacked each other for years now and more of course. But this really pushes forward our push for reform -- -- legislation. Wilson had not have a date now that clip let's go through this whole playing now. The -- they set up the initial that they were basically voter registration drive for a Elizabeth Warren last summer. They set out letters at the behest of Elizabeth Warren's daughter they sent out. Letters to with prepaid envelopes all the State's welfare recipients. Saying may we had given you enough of an opportunity to register a vote here's an envelope if you wanna register to vote. Please please send back your -- voter -- voter right because your voter card registration card. And so. Forties so a turn at first we were told first we were told nothing. Then The -- filed a Freedom of Information Act request and said what happened what -- with all those mailings were sent out and they weren't that the state was forced to say. That 191000. Of the envelopes had been returned to sender address unknown no such person no such zone right 191000. Now it turns out. It's 8000 Obama since 2000. That that that's like one and nine people that are on welfare they don't know we -- they came back returned and their. And you're right they lied to try to hide in this Italy nineteen. We find that it's not authentic. Well first they were first they didn't tell us they they they would come clean forced to come clean they then lie. Well and of course we got -- there was scrubbing that list but they have their -- on -- got a heck of a -- and it is now. This is just this is just unbelievable -- they that that they they would do they don't they don't hear about do I mean is that we're -- boils down to they do not hear about welfare fraud and abuse. No alternate plans to do is quote -- -- anyone have recommendations. How is from -- inspector general's report was that they need to bring down re evaluate their response and that unverified applicants do not have income or -- I mean -- think. You know. There as -- if you don't have you'd say that you have no documentation. States and Matt okay will you must not have any income or assets and we're gonna let it. It's it's not itself there occasion I have been talking about that's happening out there. Man is just -- declaration. So so what they -- So they they they -- they're basically trying to world roles is what you're saying -- tried to increase the number of people who were dependent on welfare. But they have absolutely been doing that -- that we can see it from that report and from what was in The Herald today they're not checking anything how it and not taking residency. Employment status Social Security numbers. Bank account but it would probably talked about this yesterday there was a woman -- -- daycare center who was not well there. If there was a guy who gave the PO box as a as a direct. They're not taking prisoners information and and this is the most basic information in the -- back. I I still wanna know about how. I so wanna know how many people have what the average is the balance that they have and -- me and I yeah go I mean -- I get back to this. This is that this really bugs me I really wanna get to the bottom of this I mean if they wanna like give you guys and all of rich you what homes and the people on both sides of the aisle wanna get to the bottom of this. If I wanna give you an olive branch they ought to give they ought to give up some of these some of these the documentation on how many of these people have thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars in these accounts. But they absolutely need to do that we need -- -- and they don't have to give us the names of the people because and other dissidents say that its privacy issue which into bad out. But they can they can tell us how much -- in the accounts. So we're we're we're trying to get that information and I don't know that you. And I had -- -- But you know we're -- out that from me and hopefully he's more open to letting the public know where their tax knowing what's happening here. And you know I've got another another one to add to this you know to be what they paid 48 million that they had those are. Yet they -- US Department of Agriculture notified the state last week that the state has overpaid welfare recipients by some 27 point eight million dollars since 2010. You know their crimes that they don't have enough money to run their program I mean that that this is indeed be used to -- On and it's not looking the other way and I think that it's not just mismanagement it is. Purposeful as far as I can -- And down they were also find in this I think this is not a very well known fact that. And 111 points and the department was fine point four million dollars. We're not we are buying people on food -- like there's supposed to do every year they were spying. Signs when he formed it it started out the 59 dollar signs and how they got it got -- when. The federal government the agriculture. I believe so that's who runs the program we're still trying to get bad information too. Because I had a. This is so this is Barack Obama's federal government is a -- is finding Deval Patrick's state government for rough for being too lenient on welfare recipients I mean this is incredible. How bad does it have to be before -- Barack Obama cracks down on his good buddy mini me. I think gap for Barack Obama's administration be cracking down the Patrick administration that this good this or how bad it is here in Massachusetts. And in addition to that point four million they had to -- all put people over time to go back and do all the recertification. That they had not been doing. What is the same people that all the made ribbon made overtime putting out this some -- of this special mailing that turned up the F 50000 missing -- welfare recipients. Hey you know what at least we can get gratification out of that I mean look what happened at -- exact -- employed that's bad I hired or why. It sure dead. Yeah it sure that it it yeah -- Scott what -- won the -- the election anyway even the fight even if they had sent out that mailing and now they now they've really got egg on their face with this mailing. This amazing. So now the is it. How could be announced this yesterday I mean there was no there -- there was no fanfare there was just a you know it's a simple statement right I mean that no cameras no nothing like that. I don't know I don't have think they wanted anyone to pay a lot of attention to this type. Yeah I I read it and the -- this morning. Oh you'd admit -- nobody told you run in The Herald. Yeah I wish I had. I may last night from high and not a -- So. I looked up by barrier early this morning to. Also I. I thought you know I thought they would've at least you know told the news to the legislature the people were involved in this surge. So -- that's some but so they they just didn't this guy got he got that pushed out of in the in the dark of night. A price that I wait until I'm surprised it didn't wait until this afternoon to. Right to I -- that people some domestic quality care just aren't directed my extra right now. Yeah but that's it it's -- I might nicely so what you know what should people do I I was here I was talking to people today about this you know where are what you were talking about this. How do we turn. In you know how do we are we trying to get the bottom of this we're talking about -- yesterday. But how difficult it is because dude there's no. There's no interest. Among the state bureaucrats to to put an end to any of us -- that they wanna continue went. But I would I would still encourage people to go to the web site and I actually have the information on my FaceBook page I can put on the web site to. But or they can email me to get it but there is no link on that department of transitional assistance web site where you can report fraud. Pick it up so I guess called the auditors office because she does broad investigation as well. But what I think we need to do is take that fraud unit away from the department of transitional assistance because that is. Fox guarding and out or sore right and we need to get it over to may -- the IG got the inspector general's office is something like that that that it got to be taken away from them because. We all know that they don't do anything went. Now is you did you what did you put the inspector general's -- port on your website last night. You know what I'd do it on. Our. Shot you've got to do that I got to read it myself from my Sunday column. Oh god I admit -- I think that the -- LI -- executed a product that I would put my bills up on the web site. People could tell that -- put the. But the report -- we can all read it that over the weekend I would ask. -- they did actually spoke there was this time and also ever since this just broke out I've got a lot more legislators signing on to my bills for EDT reform. So people out there listening still have until 5 o'clock to contact their -- senators. And asked them to sign on to be upon all EDT reform. And and are you get any that any Democrats -- on. Yes. I am I in -- it. It's 35 people on one and thirty to one another -- -- got to be at least a few Democrats on the. That's good that's 1877469432218774694322. Surely you mean to say they scrubbed the list and it got dirty air that's him that's all UPS guy. That the equipment that you say number what did the governor say when the first again we don't know that there's even a problem here. Yeah yet they never know that there's a problem I mean -- -- you know they still sit there and point out about so called good things that the department transitional assistance. What I would like to see. Happen right now is they need to appoint a bye in the big you can make up bipartisan appointment he had very new commissioner of the EPA someone like. Mary Condit and who we know is an auditor who could run that department going to air clean it out and save the taxpayers millions and millions of dollars. Well yeah that there'll be great but of course she's a Republican solution are gonna get the job let's take some calls for a representative shot so call Republican but on she'd been leading the charge -- some kind of about welfare reform. The had depart the commissioner of the department of transitional assistance was ousted yesterday basically fired and curly. And in the midst of a and in endless. In less ski and scandals involving the at the TI. A -- your next with Howie Carr and each. I'll call on it. But the job thank -- -- -- still. Well I have a question why the market the issue of people who are well yeah I know public employee. What they -- Why didn't private issue for them but they can't be here without will be out yet. Yeah that's a question I don't know it's agree that the -- privacy issue by every time we try to get information that's excuse. That is he is that it privacy is inexpensive and any information. So you know by opt out -- you know the numbers that we can I don't what the numbers are. Attacks are just pointed out -- isn't it ironic that the you know electoral law biding a gun owner and taxpayer year your name's gonna go be going up on line. But if you're welfare recipient. Or maybe even an illegal alien you can't that you can't be -- I don't you know it's always the law abiding citizens it's always tax payers that are taken -- -- I mean yeah we see in today's receipts at. Least at the very least fifteen million dollars in fraud abuse and we have a governor who wants to raise our taxes two billion dollars. -- clean it -- to integrate our tax. So how sure -- you about this 24 million by the way this 24 million dollar fine. Well I -- that was still try to get the information but as a person that works said the EPA that have been seeking -- told me about this. So I I do you have to get confirmation on that I told me he was working -- that is what happened and they got the signed. Hectic people out for overtime. As a result that it. And they and they were initially gonna be -- fifty million dollars was so egregious. That's right so but you know we can. It takes time to get everything in government to go up now. No kidding. We're especially if it's negative if it's a positive story you can get a much faster for summaries of what Mike you're next with Howie -- and Sean O'Connell go ahead Mike. -- -- and Charlotte I wanted to let you know political. Groups and center today and down. They contacted general -- office and -- he did say that. It is cities coast all around on the bills which isn't good thing -- -- -- -- -- -- JIRL system nobody is home now and I left a message waiting for a phone call that. And that I needed to latest on the that the dispute with Ken Donnelly is legislative -- I was told. By his office. After I asked the question will you be supporting. EDT reforming these two bills. So no it will not be support hospitals. So why not mention that you so while. He essentially thanks but this is not the right way to get it done that he wants -- -- different ways as civil war what are -- the way. This is a union hack by the way that he's talking about a used to be via president of -- of a fire union and he's the he's a union it's a union owned state senator gore had Mike. Hallway and shot I couldn't believe what I was hearing -- you. You mean to tell me that does -- understand that by not supporting this legislation that would intentionally get waste fraud and abuse in -- system. And which you and -- -- it's a Florida -- the taxpayers but yes he understands that. Apple oh okay. But what I suppose that's OK so I just wanna I wanna go. A lot of attention you know to -- you understand that right he gets a pension and the salary. Somehow that doesn't surprise me Howard but you know you're here we are we're all breaking out back so there were just trying to put kids through college and what do the right thing. And it just seems to mean that these people think you said earlier they just don't seem to care. It has paid out all the story that we've debated publicly say would we support you but. What they re doing -- reality. Is that just spoke the other way and we know what they're doing it. Yeah I and I knowledge is is just. You know I mean I didn't didn't Deval Patrick pretty much say that one of the reasons he appointed Steve Tompkins is the sure for Suffolk County was because he came from similar background IE welfare. I mean. If you don't. I mean it's it's no it's no shame to be -- been on welfare as a child but I mean you were making that that it will make an -- -- a career choice like it's a like it's a positive thing you know you have a choice you can be you can either work -- eleven and it worked for -- support yourself or you can have you could have someone -- state. You can have someone else work for a living and support you mean I I don't I don't yet talk about said that I -- wrong message to everybody. It is an unfortunately you know being on welfare has beat -- fraction of people are getting very good at it. And it's it's like we always say it's really too bad because -- a lot of people out there who are very deserving. And needed and we want it out and then not getting help we need they need we could be helping them much better I with jobs upgrading education. But these programs that would drain because of the -- abused. That we can help people believe they should be held so that they can become self sufficient which is which should always be the goal. So she's it was tried this trip trapped you know eight by seven as your guest if she is outraged the same way about showing stepping taxpayers for 75 million dollars. Well I was down her island but we have our own we have -- showing here it's called evergreen right -- and I you know you know the ball Patrick is much is giving money away to walk. To welfare recipients he's he has his own crony capitalist oust the money to -- You know we don't we don't need to go south of the border to talk about -- -- -- favored industries and cat corporate welfare is not always a good thing in no I don't always agree -- -- you know a lot of taxpayer dollars gets wasted on that as well. 18774694322. Only in mass how we at least were rid of carry things are already looking better. Kevin got try to look at that weight Kerry is not -- I repeat Carrey is no longer you or US senator. And a -- for most of us he's been that the senator -- for more than half of our lives at least more than half our -- lives. Met your next with how we cargo ahead Mac. Their Mac. Albert you're next with Howie Carr and I Sean O'Connell go ahead Albert. They now eleven to show red McConnell thank you referred to work you're doing in Massachusetts. And you know one of the last comment you made segued right into my point is does decide to become like a profession. And some of these people. Scam and the the betting is that. Our society. Wanted to do you know to help people out. Well what's to keep these people that have pro get you know elected tristate area like me your intranet in Massachusetts. And gamble -- states. That. -- -- absolutely true that you know. But I'm telling you -- legislation would take care I don't know why anybody would not sign on to this because it doesn't change it doesn't change the eligibility. It just doesn't really intense. -- Real time before anybody can get one dime of taxpayer dollars to that the people not getting into this program attacks against -- 15. Publicly available databases. Think that you know basically doing right now but that did not doing. Yeah they did they've always got an excuse you know the it's if it's about the privacy -- why it's the ID it's it's the cost. Of putting photographs on a well on on hard or or it's the cost of overtime what are what are some of their other excuses that they almost come up -- Yet they paid they don't have enough people they can't verify it in the -- big pay what they. Continued to do it sees itself declarations will get the information after this person is an emergency they have to get the money right away. And it may never do bade the follow up check on the they're -- -- we need to watch how it's -- it's where. These former commissioner of the PTA demands. Yeah that's that's always a good point you know like -- like the Parole Board the Parole Board boss mark Conrad you know. A total disgraced former driver for a Deval Patrick. And -- he had to open a six figure job they always they always land on their feet. -- Mary Beth have forgotten most recently the secretary the disgraced. Secretary of public safety promoted to a judge. Well I'll tell you it it really gets I judgeship I will be right at that hearing despite represented -- -- was testifying against him being awarded it. If they would is the end -- a lawyer. You know I don't know I don't think he would but does that matter around here. That qualified for the job. Well they -- they're simply you don't have to be a lawyer to be a clerk. John. Cook up a it's a pure -- might ask him why am I am asking these irrelevant questions. Jeff. -- -- Quite an advance look at the bill it looks like a lot of Democrat it's a bipartisan bill all the way. Oh good good to their line up there I'm sure -- signed on today after after these latest revelations. Jeff your next with how we aren't Sean O'Connell go ahead Jeff. I I got a court questioned. My money revenue would we collect -- -- Got the country in a way out and always -- employees from other states -- the reciprocal agreement with not the taxpayer back. There -- important to acquire up there with our dollars. It's significant. Question that. Yeah thanks thanks for the call -- 1877469432218774694322. They actually call homes and ask if you would like to submit a claim not -- this this number calls my went to place every day. While 187746943221877. Force. 694322. -- call your next with how we car and Sean O'Connell go ahead McCall. I have had. Our regulations. Are your nation great. A lot -- out there. I'm embarrassed he's able that we -- -- tough times. I have been coming -- it's like Tina are very tired my current and about three years ago my father passed so we absolutely need it and the material mom and so my husband takes care triples for the report are foiled -- -- as well. And I -- to -- this crying normally won't conform non you know kind of person. I I am -- of people are ahead everything from the land Marge unique. Our -- and security card. I was not eligible for the sixteen year old teaching talent didn't speak English with no license. I overheard it was a very close which is getting 20022000. Cash C section -- as cellphones. A car I don't think she gets a life sentence is not a citizen. -- -- key Al wild -- I tried not to freak out I just bought -- -- that. I mean I've been hanging citizen yeah me as a working with young age is the house and it's been passed permit would really really ironic in the really needed assistance food stamps. Scorer and let them back up and they felt that you were out of I don't know why you're average night. So lately we -- about 200 dollars and is an appetite you ain't so embarrassed wearing out that the car it's even pretty. Early. -- you're the you're one of the very few and call with -- But the thing is is. I'm pretty stark truth meant. I think they need people work every month after silently as an all the street targets around the documentation every month. Inmates are extremely. Low low forties and focus on making -- -- So -- Murray didn't have the proper money for what you needed for focusing. And when you have a thousand people who we know. I recruited far -- in my floor. Illegal alien and and you have you know albeit it's -- you know you -- that -- haven't seen -- I mean I think it's important in the beginning and I've been down broken down between -- I clean houses for a living people and all that money have money for -- and -- Like -- like you -- -- scumbag not been for help but. Then you hear that people can -- thousand dollars that actually like I even by being like termites and sure sure. They call you know I'm really sorry to hear your story and you shouldn't be embarrassed. Two to get help like that and that's the problem with this program is to be a program where somebody is that Qaeda and they know you need help and they know you're trying to get to a better place and I think you're trying to become self sufficient but unfortunately because. We have our because the administration the Patrick administration has put so much fraud and abuse into the program it has destroyed the integrity program. And you know on another note the call I can tell you it's much easier against these programs if you -- because. That's what's happening on people that wire getting into the programs and on people like you have a hard time. -- and you you know you're right I mean they you know these people like Patrick claimed to have such compassion for poor people but you're right there they're the ones who were or making them. Making them -- highest by having to pull out these cards by by letting all this fraud and abuse go one. It -- -- and it's it's really it's it's heartbreaking to hear stories like that calls someone who would genuinely need help and feels like she can go and get it or. -- -- -- Should never be ashamed if you need them out and yours truly you know not sucking up the system like a. Can you what can you talk that can you give her -- memorize -- and just if you even if she's -- state rep maybe consider what their recourse state rep on her state senator track Andersonville. There -- one option do we lose Nicole unfortunately I hope we did the -- call back call back at 617. 9311680617931. Went six and we'll get your phone number not try to get that try to get light you up with if you're rapist and and Sean were trying to -- -- with whoever you're wrap this. And the soul you can get some you get some help and -- are -- I'm sorry you've been through this soar again people should people if they see their rock. If they shooter reps of a Super Bowl party this weekend -- at the package store filling up -- refreshments or something. Make sure to tell them that you won't you tell what the column show on. They'd tell them to support the O'Connell homes EDT reform bill. Because it's become an -- -- going to be pushing hard for this. This is what we need there's two bills that this is what we need to six. This system once and -- -- and to ensure that taxpayers' dollars and not being fraudulently given out. -- -- -- to see -- curly as a law degree or not -- on you put you put me on to something. It can't keep me in -- keep me and keep us informed about the other 7000 dollar write EBT card out in the and Pittsfield OK and I owe it to be imposed that on your website tonight so well of some nice. Nice weekend reading on on the IG's report on my welfare abuse. I'm gonna posted up -- -- about twenty -- Shawn no Shawn O'Connell dot com thanks a lot to be with Alicia arcade place about public will be will be slow to talk about this for the rest of the rest of the hour how we are.