A request for supplemental pay for the district manager of the El Dorado Resource Conservation District (EDRCD) is being questioned by El Dorado County Auditor-Controller Joe Harn.
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Previously the EDRCD submitted a claim to the county to pay District Manager Mark Egbert for time he had accrued over the past 10 years, primarily for attending board meetings.
In an April 22 letter addressed to Chuck Mitchell, president of the EDRCD, Harn asked county counsel to review “any options and obligations regarding your request for my office to process a $31,597 supplemental payroll payment to the RDC’s district manager.”
The letter continued, “Your board’s action related to this matter is just about the most absurd give-away of the taxpayers’ money I have seen during my 33-year career in governmental accounting and auditing. The basic premise of your board’s action is that your district manager did not know he was an ‘exempt’ employee as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act.”
However, in an e-mail dated May 6, Egbert said, “The county auditor-controller advised the district that his office could process payment of the accrued compensation in its entirety as wages, even though the RCD boards never authorized this until after receiving this recommendation. It is of great concern that the information provided by the diversity of entities on this matter be reliable and those entities that provided the information to the board be accountable.”
Egbert said the request was a result of his board of director’s efforts to evaluate the validity of accrued compensation time for all district positions. He said the supplemental pay request was recommended by a third-party law firm, an independent auditor and an independent human resources firm.
Claiming his position is not exempt, even though he is designated the district manager, Egbert said the district will rely on the county’s definition of who is an exempt employee.
However, Harn disagrees. “He’s always been the district manager and if you’re a manager you don’t get paid for overtime,” Harn said. “He’s the district manager for 10 years and he didn’t know managers don’t get overtime?”
Harn also questioned how much it cost to hire outside people to render that judgment. “I can get a lawyer to say I’m beautiful and have a beautiful full head of hair. You can hire a lawyer to say anything you want,” he said. “It’s absurd for a district to pay a manager for working extra hours. I don’t believe the payment is correct and I won’t make the payment until it’s my lawful duty to make that payment.”
He said that the county needed extra justification to support why Egbert should receive overtime pay.
Egbert maintains he does not want the additional compensation. He claims the entire issue arose because of advice the district received from its auditor.
“I do not have a claim against the district for the supplemental payment and would never do so,” he said. “The integrity, accountability and transparency of the district is of utmost importance.”
Egbert said he hopes county counsel renders a judgment on the issue this week.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.