It all started in 2014 when questions were raised about how people were paid in the Sheriff’s Office.
That led to Jefferson County auditing all records for the Sheriff’s Office.
“There were multiple ways to record your time. All of those methods were then reported to the payroll office and the clerk’s office and through all of those multiple tracking. There was some, some defencies noted and that’s what we found in the audit,” said Jefferson County executive assistant Emily Kramer.
Before November 2014 employees in the Sheriff’s Office had multiple forms to record time.
However, Kramer said that isn’t the only reason for the confusion.
Some law enforcement in the Sheriff’s Office falls under Fair Labor Standards Act exmption, which means overtime standards are different for some officers.
“Twenty-eight days consecutive period and the employees are able to work 171 hours at a regular rate,” Kramer said.
In order to receive time and a half or comp time, exemption-qualified law enforcement must actually work over 171 hours in 28 days.
If a qualified officer was to take a vacation it would be paid time off but would not count as hours actually worked. But that’s not the standard for all officers.
The county believes pay discrepancies happened because of different work schedules, FLSA exemptions and time reporting methods.
Once this was discovered former sheriff Blair Olsen created one time card to record all information.
Olsen then held mandatory training for all employees to learn how to fill it out correctly.
“It seems to be going well. If any errors have been found from the time card to the paycheck employees have notified the payroll personnel and she has corrected it and/or if we have identified it we have corrected it. This process has really streamlined a payroll system to the justice fund and Sheriff Olsen’s time card seems to be working effectively,” Kramer said.
The county is planning to reimburse all 29 employees by the end of this week.
The county will pay about $12,000 in taxes.
The money paid to the employees will also be taxed because it is taxable income.