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Richmond County school board approves revised retiree work protocol to prevent another costly mistake

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 9:37 PM
Last updated Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 1:51 AM
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The Richmond County Board of Education on Thursday approved a revised protocol that clarifies how human resources staff should monitor retirees returning to work so a recent quarter-million-dollar mistake does not happen again.

This year, the district was ordered to pay the Teacher Retirement System of Georgia $241,000 for allowing seven retired employees to work more hours than allowed between 2008 and 2012.

The new protocol requires retirees rehired to be assigned a code in the payroll system to identify them as retired employees. Retirees must also sign a form to acknowledge the boundaries of hours allowed. The protocol also calls for the human resources department to review the retirement system’s requirements and limitations with administrators and bookkeepers annually.

After approving the safeguard, board member Frank Dolan said he believed some employees intentionally deceived the school system.

“This fiasco did not happen by accident, and I am of the opinion there are people in this school system that knew what was going on,” Dolan said. “They knew it was a way to enrich themselves personally, and I think they carried it out … I wish there were a way to prosecute these people, but according to (board attorney Pete Fletcher), there’s not.”

The board discussed this issue privately in executive session but said afterward it took no action on the matter. Board member Jimmy Atkins said he still wanted to know “where the ball was dropped.”

According to the retirement system’s chief financial officer, Steve Boyers, such an oversight does not happen often. The system clearly defines which type of retirees can return to work full time or part time.

The employees who were allowed to work extra hours in Richmond County were two Title I consultants, one special education clerk, one substitute and teaching assistant, an internal audit clerk, a media assistant substitute and substitute teacher, and a clerical substitute.

According to the retirement system’s standards, retirees returning to a nonteaching position can work only three months in a full-time capacity. After that they can work up to only 49 percent of a full-time schedule or salary.

Boyers said that as of the due date Monday, the school system had paid only $82,000 of the $240,000 owed.

There will be a 7.5 percent interest charged monthly after the due date. On Thursday, Controller Gene Spires said he planned to pay the remaining balance Friday, so any interest would be minimal.

The money will come out of the $58 million general fund, Spires said.

Dolan said the situation was avoidable and will hurt the school district’s already struggling general fund, which has been hit by state budget cuts and increasing expenses.

“We’re going to have to be really creative to get our money back up to where it was,” Dolan said. “I think it’s unfair, and I think it’s shameful and I’m sick of it.”

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triscuit
2848
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triscuit 02/22/13 - 12:13 am
1
0
Good Lord, when does the buck

Good Lord, when does the buck stop? With teachers going without pay, this waste is excused? The BOE is always so outraged with this nonsense but no heads roll!

TRex
100
Points
TRex 02/22/13 - 12:13 am
0
0
Agreed Mr. Dolan

Good luck to you cleaning this up.

dichotomy
30492
Points
dichotomy 02/22/13 - 12:55 am
1
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Nothing like closing the door

Nothing like closing the door after the horse is out. Oh the outrage....but we are not going to do anything about it. We think some employees deceived the system....this fiasco did not happen by accident.......we want to know where the ball was dropped.......but we took no action. Yep, definitely the RCBOE in action.

Truth Matters
6168
Points
Truth Matters 02/22/13 - 06:49 am
1
0
Blame game....again

And how are the employees seen as deliberately pulling this over? Let's see, retirees who do not run payroll are to blame. This is a large charge and would require many people to be complicit in this. Is that what the trustee really believes or is it a way to transfer responsibility?

soapy_725
43553
Points
soapy_725 02/22/13 - 09:27 am
0
0
Let's review the comedy.....
Unpublished

Procurement Dept JOKE
Code Enforcement JOKE
Maintenance Dept JOKE
School Board JOKE
Water & Sewer JOKE
HR JOKE
Legal JOKE
Public Transit JOKE
Streets JOKE
Garbage JOKE

And micro managing all of this comedy is the biggest JOKE of all, the mayor and commission.

Can we have some "comic relief"?

Turn the ARC over to the "village people". Detroit of the South.

Little Lamb
43826
Points
Little Lamb 02/22/13 - 10:15 am
0
0
Caught in the act

Here are the job titles of the ones who got caught gaming the system:

Title I consultant (2 of them)
special education clerk
substitute teacher and teaching assistant
internal audit clerk
media assistant substitute and substitute teacher
clerical substitute

With all the unemployment out there today, why not just make a policy not to utilize persons who are receiving pensions. The positions above require no teaching certifications, so there are plenty of qualified persons who fit the bill.

Even if you needed a certified teacher, there are plenty of young ones out of work. You don't have to hire pensioned ones.

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