Jan 12, 2015

ALJ Daugherty Agreed To Voluntary Disbarment

     I missed this earlier. Back in May 2014, retired Administrative Law Judge David Daugherty agreed to voluntary disbarment. It had been alleged that Daugherty approved claims that didn't meet government guidelines, falsified time sheets and improperly assigned attorney Eric Conn's cases to himself. 
     So far, as best I can tell, despite considerable publicity given to the case, neither Daugherty nor Conn has been charged with any crime. While the Kentucky Bar Association was looking at the allegations against Conn in 2013, I cannot find any indication that they ever took action against him.


Anonymous said...

I am sure SSA does not want and will do all they can to avoid any charges being brought against Judge Dougherty. The very last thing SSA top management, ODAR management in particular, wants is for Dougherty and others to testify about what went on in Huntington. If that ever occurred, the lid would be blown off ODAR, just as it recently was for the VA, and many top managers fear they would find, at best, SSA's and their reputations tarnished or, at worst, themselves the subject of collateral criminal investigations. SSA and ODAR want the entire Huntington mess quickly forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Didn't ODAR's top manager approve monetary performance awards for the Huntington office while Daugherty was there? If so, ODAR's top manager knew or should have known what was going on.

Didn't ODAR's top manager only start expressing surprise and outrage when the press uncovered and publicized the Huntington situation? What would ODAR's top manager have done if the situation had not been disclosed to the public?

If ODAR's top manager was complicit and had constructive knowledge of the Huntington situation, shouldn't he too agree to voluntary disbarment? Shouldn't the buck stop with the guy overseeing the operation?

Anonymous said...

Didn't top management instead go on a headhunting mission to discredit clerical people who "wouldn't shut up" about the situation? Not only did they fail to acknowledge or report, they actively sought to cover up the situation. How is this OK?

Anonymous said...

Top brass didn't even start taking the whole situation with super payers (i.e. high volume, near 100 percent pay) until way after W.Va. first blew up.

It wasn't until those jackholes Issa and Coburn started raking SSA folks over the coals in hearings and it was shown that it wasn't just Daugherty that they finally began to buckle down and address the small group of super payers. Just look at the disposition data for those judges who were named in that report; there are slight changes in 2011 and 2012, but the data indicates many of these judges didn't retire or really get in line (i.e., close to the 500-700 range and a pay rate less than 75 percent) until 2013 and 2014.

I've said this before, I'll say it again. MGMT from each ODAR office sends its regional HQ and Baltimore all manner of reports all the time. The regional HQs have a lot of staff members seemingly devoted to bean counting workload--how long cases stay in statuses, productivity, etc.--and everyone is well aware of everything.

Many, many important people were perfectly aware of what Daugherty and the other super payers were doing. They may not have known the specifics of the W.Va. affair and all the gory details vis-a-vis Conn and the MSSs and the employee whistleblowers, etc. for a long time, but even that they would have figured out very quickly with the slightest bit of digging (which they should have done simply based on the sheer number of cases and payrate).

What happened was is that Astrue made getting that backlog down the only priority for ODAR. His mouth wrote a lot of checks on the Hill when being grilled and asking/getting all that hiring money. So everyone below him was just trying to push cases out the door. Decision quality wasn't worried about (save for at the AC), and the judges, who solely by virtue of the amount of cases they heard and their pay rates showed prima facie bad decision making, were instead rewarded with bonuses. Repeatedly.

It's really obvious and simple. The head honcho made the backlog his Waterloo, and the people below him fell in line.

Anonymous said...

Astrue is gone - but isn't his deputy "head honcho" in ODAR still there, still collecting his big government salary & benefits, still claiming he knew nothing, and still trying to pass the buck on the ALJs and other subordinates?