McCracken County discovers overpayments to county attorneys
In the past 18 years, $140,000 of your tax dollars have been overpaid to McCracken County attorneys.
It’s a story we’ve been following since April, when County Attorney Sam Clymer asked for a salary reduction. He says his salary was $14,000 too high per year. It turns out this is a much larger issue than first expected.
McCracken County Judge Executive Bob Leeper says after some research, he found the miscalculation in pay dates back to 1997.
In 1997 the maximum salary for county attorneys was $35,434. Leeper’s estimates show the county attorney that fiscal year was overpaid, earning $36,260.
After that, the overpayments increased with each county-wide salary increase. Last year the maximum salary was more than $46,584. The county attorney made $60,688.
Leeper says the maximum annual salary is a combination of state and county funds. He says each year the state sends a letter with a formula for the salary. Leeper says the letter has only been sent to the county attorneys office, not to the people cutting the checks.
"I believe they should have sent that to the finance officer at least, and also the county judge and fiscal court members of the county should be made aware of it. I think with more than one person being responsible to look at it, I believe it would have been caught," Leeper said.
Leeper says he is working to get to the bottom of the issue and how figure out how county attorneys should repay. He says all the county attorneys in this time frame are cooperating. Dan Boaz was the incoming county attorney when miscalculations first started.
"Sometimes mistakes are made and, by all means, it’s not the end of the world or anything like that," Boaz said. "And if it needs to be repaid, it will be repaid."
Leeper says he talked to the state’s attorney general and suggested the letter with the salary equation is also sent to his office, because he’s worried this is happening in other counties in the state.
The state’s attorney general has agreed to start sending the letters with the salary equation to more than one county office.
The attorneys’ accountants are looking over the numbers with the county to determine what exactly they owe. Then they’ll come up with a payment plan.