No comp time in Harville's contract?
By Nancy Glasscock
MOULTON — A copy of former Lawrence County Administrator Linda Harville's contract doesn't mention compensation for overtime, said Cecil Caine, the county's attorney.
Caine is reviewing Harville's contract with the county after an allegation by Commissioner John Terry at an Oct. 8 commission meeting. He alleged that Harville wrote herself a $27,000 paycheck for comp times and other charges before leaving office in late September.
"There's no reference to comp time in the copy I have," Caine said.
Caine said Thursday the copy of Harville's contract he obtained is unsigned, but is most likely an exact copy of the original contract.
"I'm reasonably certain that's the original, however, I'd like to see the original," he said.
Obtaining Harville's original contract has been a slow process because the commission offices have been understaffed recently, he said.
The contracts of Harville and former Assistant Administrator Karen Harrison were terminated after an FBI investigation in September revealed an illegal monitoring system in the commission office.
“The front office has had their hands full,” Caine said.
In October, Commission Chairman Bradley Cross said the $27,000 check was for 750 hours of comp time, two weeks salary and vacation time.
According to Lawrence County’s personnel policy, Harville isn’t entitled to overtime pay as a salaried employee regardless of how many hours she worked a week.
Cross said Thursday that Harville said she could document the comp time.
“She says she’s got documentation for it and that’s all I had to go on,” he said. “She says she can prove it, so if she can that’s good, and if she can’t, that won’t be good. I’ll let her handle that.”
Terry said he was reluctant to say whether Harville was entitled to the $27,000 because he hadn’t seen her contract. He said he didn’t know what action the commission would take to get the money back if Harville was not allowed comp time.
“I would assume we’d probably have to go to court, but I’m not sure,” Terry said.
Commissioner Alma Whitlow said she wasn’t surprised to learn a copy of Harville’s contract didn’t specify pay for comp time because overtime pay for salaried county employees is prohibited.
“I didn’t think that salaried people got comp time,” Whitlow said. “Even if she had comp time promised to her, I don’t know why she’d have written a check and had (former Assistant Administrator Karen Harrison) sign it.”
Caine said he would recommend that commissioners discuss Harville’s pay for comp time in an executive session because the issue could involve litigation.
Monday, the commission voted to offer the county administrator’s job to Peggy Dawson, an accountant working for Lawrence County.
The commission offered Peggy Lanier King a job as an accountant and grant writer. King was employed at Lanier Tax Service in Hillsboro. She and Dawson were among 24 applicants interviewed recently for county administrator.
Whitlow said Thursday that Dawson and King had accepted the jobs.
“She’s doing a wonderful job,” Whitlow said of Dawson. “She has more than proven herself, she and Peggy King.”
The commission voted Monday to pay Dawson an annual salary of $58,000 and to pay King an annual salary of $30,000.
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