04/18/13 — Board votes on OT

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Board votes on OT

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 18, 2013 1:46 PM

Wayne County Commissioner Joe Daughtery on Tuesday had a motion prepared prior to any public discussion by the board as to how to address salary overpayments made to county employees -- a motion that appeared to leave County Manager Lee Smith out of the process.

That omission sparked a rebuke from Commissioner John Bell that at first had Daughtery defending the motion and then had other commissioners saying it was assumed Smith would be involved.

During an afternoon work session called to discuss the overpayments and salaries in the Office of Emergency Services, Chairman Steve Keen said he had spoken with County Attorney Borden Parker about the overpayments.

Keen said he would like for Parker to discuss the area of overpayment that came up at the board's previous meeting.

"Mr. Daughtery and I talked about that last night as well," Parker said.

"And I do have a motion here over the overpayments," Daughtery said. "Mr. Chairman, I think a number of us wanted to address this issue today of the overpayment. My intention is to find a way to collect these overpayments for a number of reasons. But with that in mind, as in most cases, we have to do things according to lawyers."

As such, Daughtery said, the board might have to back up "a little bit" to ensure it complies with the law.

"I discussed this with Mr. Parker, and he is recommending that we not take an action today on that particular matter, but in lieu of that to make a motion to have the finance officer and the external auditors determine how overpayments that were made to employees, or former employees, since July 1, 2012 will be repaid and report back to this board," he said

Keen asked if Daughtery had a date in mind as to when the report would be made to commissioners.

May 21, Daughtery said.

Bell asked if the review included Smith.

"Well, actually it was the finance officer Mrs. (Pam) Holt and the external auditors that the county has, which would be Nunn, Brashear, that they get together," Daughtery said.

Bell interrupted to say he did not know how Smith, as county manager, could be left out. Bell then offered an amendment to Daughtery's motion to include Smith in the deliberations.

"Mr. Chairman I don't believe that that is necessary because the county manager is automatically part of it," said Commissioner Ray Mayo. "He is not an auditor. He's going to have to take the word of the auditors anyway. So will we and our county attorney, from a legal standpoint.

Smith said he was "fine" with the way the motion was originally recommended.

Keen had to ask commissioners to raise their hands after the first vote on the amendment ended in confusion as to whether the vote was on the motion or the amendment. In the confusion, Bell did not vote and Keen asked him if he wasn't going to vote for his own amendment.

Bell said he was confused by the vote.

"You vote for the amendment first," Keen said.

Keen reiterated that Smith was a part of the process.

Keen called a third time for a vote that was approved unanimously.

A vote on Daughtery's motion was approved 5-1, with Bell voting no.