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CT State Trooper claims pay being withheld due to race and religion

A Connecticut State Trooper who filed a complaint against Scott DeVico, executive assistant to Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella, over an email that contained the subject line “Inbred Jews” says he is not receiving back pay for working several positions above his pay class over the past year, including acting as captain and major.

According to a complaint to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection filed in March of 2023 by State Police Lieutenant Adam Rosenberg alleges Department of Administrative Services employee Marybeth Bonsignore, who is part of Human Resources, is preventing Rosenberg from receiving backpay for working in jobs above his Lieutenant position since June of 2022, including as Captain and Major for the State Police Eastern District in Colchester under the Temporary Service in a Higher Class section of the state’s collective bargaining contract.

“Marybeth has failed to pay me my appropriately earned salary while working in a TSHC status class,” Rosenberg, who is Jewish, wrote in the complaint. “She has continually failed to pay me after numerous requests have been made. I believe she has refused to pay me based on my race and religion.”

The complaint goes on to insinuate that Bonsignore’s refusal to issue his back-pay is related to Rosenberg’s civil and criminal complaints against DeVico, who is also technically a DAS employee, for the offending email sent out in May of 2022.

Rosenberg says he was only compensated for being a major, but that is far less than he should have received due to the way trooper compensation is calculated, and that the difference amounts to between $12,000 and $15,000 for the time he spent working those two positions above his class. 

According to the current labor contract for State Police lieutenants and captains, a lieutenant with up to three years of service in that role receives $120,518 in salary per year, while a first-year captain receives $135,795. Rosenberg says the pay increase for a major, however, is only 5 percent more than their previous position.

The department only compensated Rosenberg for working as a major with a 5 percent bump above his lieutenant salary, but Rosenberg says his back pay should be based on both a captain’s salary and a major’s salary above captain’s pay because he was required to work two jobs in a higher class.

According to emails received by Connecticut Inside Investigator, Rosenberg emailed the payroll clerk in October of 2022 inquiring about his backpay for working as both a captain and a major. The clerk responded that she had, “received word from Labor Relations to go ahead and start working on it, then HR said to hold off until further notice.”

The clerk said in follow up emails that she was told by Bonsignore that “they needed more clarification on it.”

Four months later, with Rosenberg still not receiving his back pay, the union filed a grievance against DESPP, saying the employer has not followed the contract after Rosenberg’s efforts to have his pay corrected.

Under a stipulated agreement between DESPP, Rosenberg and the Connecticut State Police Union signed on April 1, 2023, Rosenberg would receive pay temporary higher pay for serving in the roles of captain from July of 2021 to June of 2022, and for acting as a major from June 24, 2022, to August 26, 2022, plus compensatory time. 

In return, the union dropped its grievance against the department for Rosenberg’s unpaid work. Rosenberg says he was made whole for the year he worked as a captain from July 2021 to June 2022 but has not received increased pay since then for still doing the same jobs, and DAS is ignoring the precedent set by his stipulated agreement.

Rosenberg says he did not volunteer to take on all these roles but was asked to do so by DESPP. Connecticut State Police are operating with far fewer troopers than they need, resulting in many vacancies and large amounts of overtime for active troopers to fill the gaps.

“I’m totally frustrated, I’m totally disheartened,” Rosenberg said. “They just don’t want to compensate me for it. And they asked me to do it.”

Rosenberg passed his Captain’s exam in February of 2023 but was bounced from his positions at the Eastern District to an administrative job at Central District in March, which he believes is related to his complaints.

“I’m just doing basically administrative work right now,” Rosenberg said. “They have me updating spread sheets and doing stats.”

“I hate to say it, and I really don’t mean it in a negative way, but I’m really like a secretary,” Rosenberg said. “As opposed to before, I was completely operational. I was assigning major crime teams, I was telling patrol to go out to those areas, I was responding myself, I was getting the calls in the middles of the night for accidents and wrong way drivers.”

Additionally, Rosenberg says he was assigned to take the major’s exam, but it was scheduled for the first day of Passover, so he was not able to take the test.

DeVico is an employee of DESPP, while Bonsignore is technically an employee of the Department of Administrative Services. Both civil complaints are being investigated through DAS rather than DESPP.

A letter from State Police Internal Affairs says the investigation of Bonsignore was referred to DAS, which has now hired an attorney from the Jackson Lewis law firm to look into the matter. The Office of the Chief States Attorney looks into Rosenberg’s criminal complaint against DeVico.

John McKay of DAS’ communications office confirmed that DESPP requested an investigation into Rosenberg’s allegations and that outside counsel has been assigned, but said it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.

News of the original offending email was broken by blogger and Hartford Courant Columnist Kevin Rennie in May of 2022. Devico apologized for the language in the email and said it was a result of his computer’s autocorrect.

The Connecticut State Police are working with far fewer employees than is necessary to fulfill their duties. In response, the legislature recently approved a new contract for state troopers to increase pay, including bonuses, and adjusted annual step increases.

During debate in the House of Representatives in January, Rep. Michael D’Agostino, D-Hamden, said there were zero majors and only one captain actively working for the Connecticut State Police at the time, and that the state had lost 400 state troopers in four years.

“This is ridiculous and, at this point, I have no alternative than to believe that this is antisemitism at the highest level,” Rosenberg said. “They send around all this antisemitism stuff, they cover it up, they hide it, they don’t investigate it and then they assign me a promotional exam on a Jewish religious holiday of Passover that I can’t go to.”

“And on top of it, they’re not even paying me properly,” Rosenberg said.

**This article was corrected to reflect that Scott DeVico is an employee of DESPP, not DAS**

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Marc E. Fitch, Senior Investigative Reporter

Marc E. Fitch

Marc worked as an investigative reporter for Yankee Institute and was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. He previously worked in the field of mental health is the author of several books and novels, along with numerous freelance reporting jobs and publications. Marc has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University.

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