Once Upon a Time

Editor’s Note: These concerns were presented to the Commissioners in a public meeting on Thursday, May 24, 2012. Our local paper has again shown their own media bias by failing to report on all agenda items, including this telling public discussion. Fortunately, there are other reputable mediums dedicated to reporting the unfiltered truth.

On May 24, 2012, the Jefferson County Commissioners were presented with the $20,557.81 original request for final payment already paid to Ralph Armand, former Health Dept. Administrator.

This request was approved by the Commissioners and acknowledged, without reviewing the the hand written scribbles and calculations comprising the request that was also unsigned by its creator and lacked support documentation or certification by the county attorney, as required by State Board of Accounts.

Kudos to Commissioner Tom Pietrykowski for truthfully admitting that he was informed that this appropriation was for unemployment and not for compensatory and vacation time.

 

The Health Dept. Administrator is an exempt position and not eligible for overtime or compensatory time. However, Auditor, Celeste Reed confirms that it was her writing that validated the request that paid Ralph Armand for 236.25 alleged comp hours earned entirely during two declared emergencies; flooding in 2011 and the Mar. 2, 2012 tornado.

These hours cannot be verified in public records, but this is a fairytale, so lets assume our Auditor can provide proof of prior authorization for the alleged hours worked in addition to the weekly salary base of 35 hours. POOF!! Mr. Armand is paid now for 33.7 days of compensatory time for these two events.

PROOF!! Now, let’s violate the APRA by denying the public access to the secret Employee Service Record in this smoke and mirror.

Heigh Ho, it’s off to the Public Access Counselor and State Board of Accounts we go …

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Misappropriations

Disputed Final Pay to Ralph Armand, fired Health Dept. Administrator

Editor’s Note: These concerns were presented to the full Jefferson County Council on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. However, our local paper has again shown their own media bias by failing to report on all agenda items, including this telling public discussion. Fortunately, there are other reputable mediums dedicated to reporting the unfiltered truth.

Public service is a public trust and as such, our elected and appointed officials have a Fiduciary Duty to stay within the bounds put upon them (5 CFR 2635.101 (a)). According to the State Board of Accounts, the fundamental premise of segregation of duties is that an individual or small group of individuals should not be in a position to initiate, approve undertake, and review the same action. Without proper segregation of duties, it is impossible to have an effective system of internal control, which can lead to potential errors or fraud. Yet, that is exactly how our Health Department has been allowed to operate – without proper segregation of duties.

 

Pursuant to Jefferson County Title 36: Local Government, Chapter 4, § 36-2-4-11(B), Each payment of expenses under this section must be supported by a fully itemized invoice or bill and certification by the County Auditor.

The document presented by the Health Dept. or their assignee titled “Staff time as of 04/01/2012” is purported to be the itemized bill supporting an additional appropriations final payroll claim for fired administrator, Ralph Armand. However, this document does not constitute a properly itemized accounting or bill for the following reasons:

  • Hand written calculations lack relevance or citation to verifiable sources and are not signed or certified by the creator.

  • The hand written calculations reference the addition of 7 and 14; presumably hours that have not been properly promulgated, documented or accounted for.

  • The units of measure (Hours, Days, etc.) are NOT uniformly defined for each benefit class and are indeterminable.

  • Time sheets or other methods of collecting hours worked and the accrual of benefit hours have not been substantiated or certified by the County Attorney per State Board of Accounts regulatory standards pertaining to severed employees.

Pursuant to the Jefferson County Employee Handbook, the Fair labor Standards Act (FLSA), and The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations 29 C.F.R. § 516.700, OT/Compensatory hours apply ONLY to NON-EXEMPT HOURLY Employees.

  • By the above references, The Health Department Administrator is a SALARIED EXEMPT position; As such, Ralph Armand is NOT entitled to OT/Compensatory Benefits.

  • Ralph Armand has been overpaid 236.25 hours at the cost of $5,036.85 in unqualified OT/Compensatory Benefits and unjustly enriched at the taxpayers’ expense. As taxpayer, I have demanded the immediate return of this unauthorized disbursement from Mr. Armand to the benefit of the County.

  • The classic fox guarding the hen house story: Mr. Armand was allowed to initiate, approve and review his own payroll claims giving the appearance of impropriety.

  • Mr. Armand and other EXEMPT employees may have unjustly received OT/Compensatory Benefits in prior payroll claims.

To protect the public from potential errors or fraud, as a taxpayer I have demanded an independent certified audit approved by the State of all payroll and other accounting functions of the Health Department. If our elected officials fail to act in an appropriate and timely manner an action to recover illegal, unwarranted, or unauthorized allowances may be initiated for the benefit of the county.

The council “promised” to look into the matter.

Time is of the essence. Please email or call the County Council at 812-265-8944 today and let your concerns be known as well.

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