By PJ Martin
The Metcalfe County fiscal court met on Thursday, December 14th for a special called meeting with everyone in attendance. When a meeting is moved from its normally scheduled time to another it is considered a special called meeting and only items listed on the agenda can be discussed. The payment from the DES account was not listed on the agenda.
When the November Financials were brought up for approval, Magistrate Daniel Bragg asked, “So we paid out of the DES the $50,000 we put in there?” He was referring to the inter-fund transfer approved at the November 28th meeting that was required to pay terminated EMS Manager Emory Kidd for his comp time.
“We just motioned to move the money in there not, we didn’t approve to pay it back out,” added Bragg, “The motion was not to pay it out, Kevin (Magistrate Crain) clearly said we’re just moving this money right now, we’re not paying it. So we motioned to have it in the DES account, but nobody approved to pay that money back out of the DES account.”
Judge/Executive Larry Wilson replied to Bragg saying, “Why did we move the money if we weren’t gonna pay it out?”
Bragg stated that he looked at the claims from Nov. 28 and the current ones, but it wasn’t on either report. Treasure Page Edward explained that the payment amount would not show up on the claims reports, because it goes through payroll. Bragg asked why they didn’t have to approve the pay out to which Edwards replied that it was a standing order and didn’t’ require approval.
After that, Bragg continued to argue with Edwards while Magistrate Ronnie Miller chimed in agreement with every statement Bragg made. “We didn’t agree to pay it!” argued Bragg. “I need to see proof that we have to pay it! Miller added, “We hadn’t seen any of that…I ain’t seen the sheets you said you signed off on. The sheets for the comp days, I hadn’t seen that. It’s hard to prove anything if you ain’t seen it.”
“After they’re (time sheets) signed off on they are sent to state,” answered Edwards, “We did say it had to go through payroll, this transfer had to be made to pay it. The payroll is on standing order so that is an automatic proof.”
Magistrate Kevin Crain jumped in the verbal attack on Edwards, “Does our handbook not mean anything?”
Bragg argued that if any old agreements were not written down it would be hard to prove referring to Kidd being able to earn comp time.
“I don’t care to give the man what is coming to him. I mean, whatever he deserves is what he gets. But like Daniel (Bragg) says though we hadn’t seen any paperwork whatsoever,” explained Miller.
“I thought we were pretty clear last week that we were not agreeing to pay this money…I feel like it’s just kinda being sucked under the radar,” said Bragg.
Judge Wilson loudly jumped into the conversation at that statement, “I am not trying to slip anything through! All this has been talked about and I’ll be honest I don’t like it one bit either, but every attorney I’ve talked to said you’re not gonna get out of it.”
Miller asked, “Where’s the facts?” Bragg said,” I believe you, but I don’t, we haven’t seen anything….We’ve just been told we can’t get out of this.”
At that point, County Attorney Sharon Howard finally spoke up in answer to Bragg, “I don’t believe that you can…because it’s from the point of an employee” to which Bragg countered, “So what you’re saying is the payment to employees, the court has no power over that.”
Howard questioned Bragg in comparison, had he not just approved documents for the clerk. She added that the comp time was part of the state’s matters.
Edwards continued to try and explain the situation saying the approval of comp time for the job was done by a previous administration. In a job that does not receive overtime, comp time replaces what would have been overtime worked. She also corrected the total that Bragg was using. “First, it’s not $150,000, I want to make that clear, it’s $110,000.”
Judge Wilson had to bluntly and loudly put a stop to the arguing that had persisted for around 15 minutes. “My understanding when we transferred that it was to pay it. I don’t like it. We’re gonna move on!”
Office manager, Lynn Lunz of the sheriff’s office presented the department’s budget request of $837,697.80 which was approved by the court.
Court Clerk Shannon Fields presented her budget to the court noting that the first 10 days of January the office will be shut down for the state-wide software update was causing her to do a payroll request of $22,145.06 for the employees to be paid. She also had a maximum order for salaries and a budget of $2,223,850. All were approved.
Fields reminded everyone that the County Clerk’s Office will be closed after December 29, 2023, until January 11, 2024, and that anyone with business for this year needs to bring it in before that date.
The magistrates also approved the payment of all invoices (not just engineering) received for the Bowling Park Food Pantry Project as soon as the funds were received. The entire project cost is ± $986,000.
Due to the holiday, the next meeting will be held on Thursday, December 28th at 9 a.m.
This session of the Metcalfe County Fiscal Court can be viewed on their Facebook page at Metcalfe https://www.facebook.com/metcalfecountyfiscalcourt.