New W.Va. DHHR Leader Secretary Fucillo Questioned About Travel Reimbursements August 20, 2012
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Rocco Fucillo has been interim secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources for less than two months.
But in that short time he's gotten plenty of attention.
Sec. Rocco Fucillo/W.Va. DHHR: My goal is to serve the citizens of West Virginia, do the best I can. I was asked to do this job and my only purpose is to do the best for all the state of West Virginia and that's my intent.
However, some of Fucillo's decisions have raised eyebrows, including...but not limited to...his requests for travel reimbursements.
Through the first six months of 2012, Fucillo received more than 48-hundred dollars covering mileage, meals, lodging and airfare.
Sec. Rocco Fucillo/W.VA. DHHR: In February I was asked by then Dr. Lewis, who was then the secretary, to become the Commissioner for the Bureau of Children and Families. I'm married, have two sons and a wife in Clarksburg. It was not possible nor do I want to move to Charleston to live. So with that, we negotiated the fact that my base of operations for that job would be in Fairmont.
On July first Fucillo assumed the duties of interim DHHR secretary. However, he continued to submit invoices totaling about 14-hundred dollars. They were for travel from a Whitehall, West Virginia DHHR office to DHHR headquarters in Charleston.
Despite the fact the DHHR secretary's office is in Charleston. You don't get paid for driving from home. Fucillo lives in Clarksburg.
Sec. Rocco Fucillo/W.Va. DHHR: This issue came up in the press and the governor's office became aware and we had a discussion. And we agreed that it would no longer be appropriate since my base of operations is Charleston to bill, so I stopped billing a couple of weeks ago, my travel.
Fucillo says while taking over in the wake of the late June storm, he didn't give the travel vouchers much thought.
Sec. Rocco Fucillo/W.Va. DHHR: I just didn't even think about it. I had so many other issues on my mind, just with the storm and the transition and various issues that we are in the news about. I'm dealing with that. The least on my list is that.
Fucillo says news reports indicating he had been asked by members of the Manchin administration back in 2009 to stop submitting travel invoices while he was employed by the DHHR just aren't true.
Sec. Rocco Fucillo/W.Va. DHHR: No one in the Manchin administration told me not to bill travel. I stopped it myself. In 2009 when there was a change in policy administration to save money. At that point I thought it was no longer appropriate for me since the change in policy to bill, so I made the determination myself not to bill anymore. And didn't. And that was the end of it. Never had any discussion with anybody in the Manchin administration about my travel.
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