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A closer watch
in post-Nix

Morgan County office vows to be more vigilant with requisitions

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

A day after Alison Nix resigned as director of Morgan County Community Corrections, the County Commission deleted her from its payroll.

Her annual salary was $41,204. She was in charge of the program that gives judges an alternative to sentencing defendants to jail.

Meanwhile, the commission office vowed to watch all requisitions submitted for payment.

Without any discussion, the commission approved removing Nix from the payroll along with six other employees who no longer work in various departments.

Nix, 32, of Lawrence County, resigned Monday as the Community Corrections and Court Services Commission discussed her in executive session.

Her attorney gave her written resignation to the county's attorney to give to the board.

Despite a request Nix made to keep her job for two more weeks, the corrections board voted for her to leave immediately. Also, the board ordered her to repay $504 of $2,026.35 she received over a six-month span.

The amount, which is to come from Nix's final paycheck, represents four unsubstantiated trips for which she claimed mileage.

The Daily started investigating Nix's travel in August and found $633.32 for six trips that were disputed with officials in other counties and the state. The officials said she did not attend meetings.

The $7,500 question

A request from Nix for $7,500 for a Perdido Beach trip she included in her 2008 budget brought attention to her travel. She detailed the trip, showing she wanted $4,000 for car travel, $1,500 for lodging and $2,000 for registration fees. After a reporter questioned Nix, she reduced the request to a little more than $800. She said she filled out the forms wrong. She also removed a $5,000 request for a trip for her and two employees.

That was shortly after Lawrence County authorities said Nix was the target of a criminal investigation involving forgery and misappropriation of funds that belonged to Hatton Youth Sports Inc.

The probe is still ongoing, said Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell.

Board Chairman John Glasscock said the board decided not to pursue a criminal investigation in Morgan County because Nix resigned.

"Ms. Nix has resigned her position and the travel expenses that were indisputable that the trips did not occur will be deducted from her last paycheck," said Glasscock. "This was a unanimous decision of the Community Corrections Commission."

On three of her travel requisitions Nix wrote "Mileage to Montgomery" and did not provide documentation or explanation with the forms.

Also, one of the forms had altered dates, but the accounts payable clerk, Deborah Adams, said earlier she did catch that.

The county's standard policy is for officials and employees who get travel reimbursement to provide proper documentation.

Chief Executive Officer Syble Atkins said she has given instructions to Adams about scrutinizing requisitions.

"I told Debbie that all requisitions, especially for reimbursement, are to be looked at closely," said Atkins. "We're definitely going to be looking for proper documentation that tells what the trip was for, when and why."

Atkins said each requisition will have to include an agenda, program or letter about the trip.

Acting director

David Sloan, a case manager for community corrections, is acting director. The corrections board discussed Monday plans to strengthen the job description for the post and consider increasing the starting pay.

Sloan will work in the position until the board hires a replacement for Nix.

Nix started working as director June 12, 2006. Before that, she was a juvenile probation officer at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

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