A surprise glitch
in the County payroll system was caught by the Porter County Auditor’s
office after a maintenance worker reportedly received $17,000 higher than
his salary in 2013.
President Dan Whitten, D-At Large, and Vice-president Karen Conover, R-3rd,
sent a letter to the employee on Friday asking that he repay the money as
soon as possible.
The letter states
that according to the State’s Uniform Compliance Guidelines the County is
required to collect the overpayment and the subsequent FICA and PERF costs.
Whitten told the
Chesterton Tribune on Monday that he demanded the money be reimbursed
because the employee’s salary was being paid with taxpayer dollars.
“I don’t know who
it was that screwed up. If you got paid too much money, you need to pay it
back. It belongs to the taxpayers,” Whitten said.
Robert Wichlinski, whose office handles the payroll for the County’s 600
full-time employees and 150 part-time employees, said the employee’s salary
was being paid out of both the Expo Center’s budget and the County
Commissioners’ budget, as he works in maintenance for both the Expo and the
The error went by
unnoticed because no shortage of funds showed up in the Expo budget and it
wasn’t discovered until the auditor’s office was doing the closeout for the
end of the 2013 in preparing tax forms.
The employee should
have received $35,250 total from both budgets but received an extra $17,625
from the Expo.
Wichlinski said the
computer transfer is what created the problem and it was not apparent
because there was no shortage of funds in the Expo budget. The employee was
under the impression he had received a raise as there had been talk of
giving raises by some Council members during the hearings for the 2013
County budgets, he said.
The problem has
been corrected for 2014, Wichlinski said. The employee is still working for
“It just happened,”
he said. “We can’t keep track of 750 people. We just have to trust the
department head. What they gave us is what we process.”
sign off on a biweekly form that payroll is correct and that there are ample
funds in their budgets to carry through the year, Wichlinski said.
Former Expo Manager
Ken Blaney, who was in charge of the facility at the time the 2013 budgets
were turned in, said there were excess funds in the salary fund since he was
docking his own pay because he was not working as much during the summer.
Blaney said he put
most of his focus on the employees being paid part-time hourly. He said he
was “definitely surprised” by the error.
“It’s too bad it
happened,” he said.
this is the first time he’s seen a matter like this in the years he’s been
in office and he doesn’t believe it is occurring anywhere else in the County
budgets. He said if there are any errors, his office will catch them when
they reconcile funds on June 30.
He said the State
Board of Accounts continues to implement ways for counties to improve
payroll systems and time and attendance reports.
Whitten said, from
his understanding, the employee is willing to reimburse the money.