Quincy's police chief said the controversy over an officer accused of abusing unemployment benefits is over, and officials have put the incident behind them.
According to the Boston Herald, David Zupkofska, 41, from Braintree, filed for unemployment benefits after being suspend from the department for 60 days. A Quincy police captain and lieutenant said they had seen shoveling snow while out on leave for an injured wrist in February 2011, Quincy police said.
Mayor Thomas Koch’s spokesman, Christopher Walker, confirmed that at the time, Police Chief Paul Keenan put Zupkofska on leave for five days due to the allegation. Soon thereafter, Koch increased the suspension to 60 days.
Zupkofska served the suspension in last May and June and returned to work June 17. During the suspension, Zupkofska, who made $113,008 last year, according to city records, filed for unemployment compensation, which he received.
Walker confirmed that the city fought the unemployment claim of the 17-year department veteran to no avail.
Alleged payments of unemployment benefits to ineligible participants is being investigated by the Herald, which also reported that a retired Lynnfield cop was receiving unemployment benefits while collecting a pension and working part-time.
In Zupkofska's case, the suspension was appealed to a state arbitrator, who decided in October to reduce the suspension to one day in February, Police Chief Paul Keenan said in an interview this week. The officer was awarded $15,000 in back pay and ordered to give back the $3,729 he had collected in unemployment to the state.
Zupkofska told the Herald he would be paying back the money; however, Keenan said he wasn't aware that he had. Quincy police said that Zupkofska has returned to work full time, and that the incident has been put behind them.
"This the matter has been resolved. He received a 60-day suspension that was reduced by an arbitrator. He was still found responsible, but the punishment was taken down because he hadn’t been disciplined for that prior to that..but he wil still have the suspension on his record," Keenan said. "But he's been back to work for quite some time. He came back right after that incident and has been back ever since."