Steven Raucci’s conviction on arson charges won’t affect his sizeable pension from the Schenectady City School District unless his former employer can prove he fraudulently represented his overtime on the job, state officials said.
Mark Johnson, a spokesman with the state Comptroller’s Office, said the conviction wouldn’t have any direct impact on retirement payments to the disgraced former facilities director. He said there is no state law that prevents the now-convicted felon from receiving his pension benefits.
“Regardless of what he was convicted of, there’s no forfeiture law in New York state, so you’re entitled to keep you pension regardless,” he said.
But if certain trial testimony can be documented by the district, the Comptroller’s Office could feasibly adjust down Raucci’s retirement benefit. David Ralston Sr., one of Raucci’s subordinates, testified that he was the one who operated the district’s energy system for the three years preceding the facilities director’s arrest in February 2009 arrest.
“It would be up to the district to correct their own payroll records,” Johnson said.
Raucci went from making $69,000 in 2003 to more than $104,000 when he became the district’s energy manager in 2004. He retired shortly after his arrest and now collects a pension of more than $79,000.
In part, his pension is based on his final average salary. This average is based on the highest three consecutive years of his salary.
Raucci’s pension payments were included in the comptroller’s audit of the school district in November. The audit found that Raucci was allowed to collect more than $50,000 in unverified overtime, including payments that boosted his salary to more than $129,000 in 2008.
Auditors reviewed 26 time sheets and indicated Raucci worked at least 36 hours of overtime during each two-week period. However, Raucci never documented the reasons for overtime.
“The board should investigate the discrepancies noted in this report to determine whether the payments were appropriate and recoup any inappropriate amounts,” the report states.
Board of Education President Maxine Brisport said testimony and evidence at the trial has raised a number of issues that should be discussed within the district. She said board members will have to review all the information garnered from the case and determine the best way to proceed.
“The board will sit down and decide where we go from here,” she said.
Categories: Schenectady County