Greed versus Need: Cashing in on Hurricane Irene

The winds have died down, the dust has settled, power has been restored. State workers worked overtime to bring order back. Downed trees, flooding and record numbers of power outages showed us that when a hurricane strikes, it leaves a heck of a lot of damage and thus clean-up.

The clean-up continues, even to this day, in the form of a food stamp controversy being reported by The Hartford Courant. Due to investigations into food stamps applications, a select few state workers in Connecticut are now in the eye of the storm, as it were.

At the end of August, 2011 many people in Connecticut had no power for almost five days, and we were the lucky ones! Some people endured almost two or more weeks of power outages. Hurricane Irene struck in warm weather, showing some mercy, but for older people living alone, no city water and no sewer created unhealthy living conditions.

Neighbors pitched in and brought dinners and did some shopping. The state recognised that some people had been left in dire need financially and issued debit cards to the needy to help pay for food, housing repairs and temporary housing costs. The “food stamps” term is used because it denotes a state handout.

For some state employees that “hand out” became an opportunity.

According to The Hartford Courant,

” After saying for months that about 800 state employees were involved, Malloy announced Monday that an additional 250 state employees had filled out applications for benefits. As such, a total of 1,053 state employees actually sought to receive emergency benefits.

So far, 128 state employees have been referred to their supervisors for potential disciplinary hearings. Of the more than 1,000 state employees involved, 685 have been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to a previous count by Malloy.”

Opportunism knows no boundaries.

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