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Justifying $25,113 in overtime
Morgan County department head defends extra pay for self, employee

By Sheryl Marsh · 340-2437

A Morgan County employee who approved $25,113 in overtime pay for himself and a co-worker last year said it was justified.

District 4 Commissioner Stacy George's call to restrict overtime pay during a County Commission work session met opposition from Data Processing Manager David Hannah. George said county employees like Hannah and Ricky Brewer, a computer technician, are supplementing their salaries with overtime pay.

Hannah's pay is $56,368 and Brewer's is $48,235, according to the county payroll office.

Records show that Brewer received $16,060 and Hannah got $9,053 in overtime pay during the last fiscal year.

"That's subsidizing income and that's not right," George said, at a work session Tuesday.

George asked Chairman John Glasscock what he thought about the overtime in data processing since he supervises Hannah. Glasscock said he is not against the pay, if it keeps computer equipment working.

As a department head, Hannah approves overtime for himself and Brewer, records show. Unlike department heads in private industry, Morgan County department heads who work under elected officials get overtime.

Center of scandal

Hannah's department is at the center of the ongoing e-mail scandal and George's demand for access to records on the county server. The scandal began when someone exposed Glasscock for sending inappropriate e-mails through the county server. Hannah, who was at the work session, spoke from the audience without asking permission from Glasscock, who conducts the meetings. Glasscock normally requires people to go to the microphone to speak. Hannah said he and Brewer work around the clock on county computer systems.

George told Hannah that he saw Brewer at the jail last week. He said Brewer hangs out at the jail quite a bit.

Hannah said Brewer has to work on the dispatch system. Hannah warned George that he would be putting public safety at risk, if they cannot work on the sheriff's equipment.

George suggested that perhaps Hannah should train the other two data processing employees to help do some of the work that's requiring overtime. Hannah said he and Brewer are closer to town than the other employees.

The commissioner also questioned overtime at the county jail. He said the jail has a full staff, and he does not understand why there's overtime.

Payroll records show that the sheriff's office and the jail got more than $500,000 in overtime last year.

George said he understands that deputies and drug task force employees have to work overtime, but not others.

Glasscock said once the commission gives elected officials and department heads the money in their individual budgets the commissioners can't control spending.

George said the commission has the authority to put a cap on overtime and it should because commissioners are responsible to the public for spending.

He had planned to present a resolution that would require officials to seek commission approval before exceeding overtime budgets.

District 3 Commissioner Kevin Murphy suggested requiring officials to give a report on overtime status every three months. District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark said that would be micro-management.

During the meeting that followed the work session, George said he talked with a sheriff's deputy about the overtime and was satisfied with what he told him. George silenced the issue of capping overtime.

He said after the meeting that he plans to talk with the sheriff, but his major concern is with Hannah and Brewer.

"That's too much extra pay for two IT people," George said, after the meeting. "I bet you other entities are not having that kind of overtime."

Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott's office was the only office with no overtime last year.

How Limestone County overtime is approved

In Limestone County, department heads do not approve their own overtime.

Commission Chairman David Seibert said, “We’ve never had that come up.”

Appointed department heads and elected officials, such as the sheriff, must budget a department’s overtime annually. Any increase in overtime must come to the commission for approval, he said.

- Holly Hollman

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