Report finds county employees are being overpaid

Published: Jul. 31, 2012 at 3:09 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2012 at 3:34 PM EDT
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WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A new report, released by the inspector general's office, alleges Palm Beach County workers are being wrongly paid for duties they don't perform.

Whether it be in the field or in the Palm Beach County offices, lead workers are paid to lead a team of employees. In return, the lead workers are paid more by six percent.

A seven-page inspector general report says some are being paid as lead workers, but are not doing lead worker duties. "Maybe it's unintentional," Dist. 6 Palm Beach County Commissioner Jess Santamaria said. "Then again, if it's intentional, unintentional or not, it's got to be corrected."

To receive lead worker pay a lead worker must meet three different requirements.

The lead worker must direct a number of colleagues who fall into the same pay grade as the lead worker.

The lead worker must also work at a location removed from regular supervision.

In the inspector general's report, it says, nine of 23 lead workers didn't meet those requirements. "That could be subjective, so one thing we want to look at was is this report entirely accurate and if it was then we will fix it," Assistant County Administrator Brad Merriman said.

Merriman says the county's payroll policy has been around for 30 years and other commissioners wonder if it must be changed.

In the past six years, the report says a total of $78,121 has been paid to nine different lead workers who didn't qualify for the pay. "We are finding out all of these things that have been going on year after year after year, and they have to be corrected," Santamaria said.

The county's human resources department is looking into the nine employees listed into the report Merriman said. "We need to make sure they are doing those three items, and if they aren't doing lead worker functions, then perhaps, the lead worker pay would be removed," Merriman said.

Merriman said after the review they will decide if the workers will need to pay the county back for the funds they received that they shouldn't have.

Since 2006, employees in the report received between $2,100 and $14,490 in extra pay.

County administrators say they plan to create new policy relating lead worker pay.

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