Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - Updated: 9:40 AM
Saying he was going to put the taxpayers in the front seat, Marshall County Judge Executive Kevin Neal spent nearly an hour in last week’s fiscal court meeting outlining what he called “administrative problems” with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.
“Year after year after year, audit after audit that I looked at, there is an administrative problem here. Gentlemen, I’m not putting up with that,” he said.
Neal’s comments came after he said staff in the Judge Executive’s Office uncovered inconsistencies in documentation sent to them by the Sheriff’s Office which revealed discrepancies in overtime pay, employees who were paid too much and employees who were paid too little.
Neal also said an employee was recently initially denied time off by the sheriff’s office for a medical problem through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). He said FMLA stipulates an employee who works at least 1,250 hours in a year is eligible, but was told by the office he hadn’t worked that many hours. Neal said upon review, it was determined the employee had in fact worked in excess of 1,500 hours and that his office had corrected the error.
“FMLA is federal law. It’s not Kevin Neal’s Law. It’s not the commissioner’s law,” said Neal.
Neal recommended the county request an audit by the Kentucky Dept. of Labor in an effort to correct ongoing problems. Commissioners all voted in favor of requesting the audit.
During the meeting, Neal also expressed concern that during its Jan. 3 meeting, the fiscal court had voted to allot Sheriff Kevin Byars 4,000 overtime hours during 2017.
“We have to get to the root of the problem. You submitted documents with discrepancies and we just threw $50,000 at your agency and didn’t fix the problem,” said Neal.
Neal asked county commissioners to reconsider the allotment, but was not successful in convincing them to make a motion to do so.
Commissioner Bob Gold said he didn’t want overtime “hanging over his (Sheriff Kevin Byars) head if something big happens.”
Commissioner Rick Cocke told the court he did not feel like he had adequate time to study the issues surrounding the overtime request prior to the Jan. 3 meeting in which the court moved to increase the overtime allotment.
Neal also said the sheriff’s office did not fully utilize $4,000 in federal overtime funds through a grant.
“I asked if those funds were exhausted and you (Kevin Byars) said they were. There were actually $4,000 left on the table,” said Neal.
Byars sat quietly during most of the meeting in which Neal repeated his concerns regarding administrative problems with the Sheriff’s Department. Byars told the court he was willing to do whatever the court saw necessary in reference to the audit by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.