Management of Comp Time at LCSO
LIBERTY, January 22, 2015 - Tuesday Commissioners Court will deal with the problem of excessive compensatory time at the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department. This is a problem that has gone on since Bobby Rader became our Sheriff without anyone raising a red flag to notify the court of the problem. It is just another budget busting liability of Liberty County caused by the poor management of Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader.
Not managing comp time is just another way for Sheriff Rader to ignore his annual salary budget and just run up huge unbudgeted and unfunded payroll liabilities to Liberty County.
The county keeps two forms of compensatory time. One is called Flex Time and the other is Comp Time as labeled by the county.
These two types of compensatory time each represent an hour worked for which compensation to the employee is differed until a latter date, usually when the employee leaves the Sheriff’s Department. Having both Flex Time and Comp Time is a way to keeping hours paid at the regular rate of pay and hours paid at time and a half rate separate. Flex Time is paid at the regular, straight time rate and Comp Time is paid at time and a half the regular rate.
Law regulates the amount of Comp Time an employee can accrue. The maximum for sworn deputies is 480 hours overseen by the Department of Labor.
i-dineout.com began looking into this matter a few months ago when an employee of the LCSO left the employment of the Sheriff’s Department and had to be paid his comp time.
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Obtained through an open records request of County Treasurer Kim Harris at the time, county records showed several employees were at, near or over the amount of comp time limited by law.
Records obtained from the County Treasurer in late November show just the following employees that are over 400 hours of total compensatory time amount to a significant unfunded liability to the County assuming an approximate average pay rate for the employees.
A conservative estimate of the liability to Liberty County for excessive comp time run up by Sheriff Bobby Rader is $156.118.13. This and more will have to be paid by taxpayers at some future time.
Sheriff Rader wrote on his FaceBook page, “The Liberty County Employee handbook states that a commissioned officer may accumulate up to 480 hours of comp time. On 1/14/2013 I sent out a memo to all the Sheriff’s Office employees that I was reducing that number to 300 hours.” The records i-dineout.com obtained proves Rader's comments were little more than self serving propaganda which he himself ignored.
The reason this all comes up now at Commissioners Court is that i-dineout.com has learned that Department of Labor Investigators have contacted Sheriff Rader about the problem at the LCSO in preparation for an audit and something needs to be done on short order.
Sheriff Bobby Rader’s problems have been dumped into the lap of Commissioners Court to deal with.
Let’s see if Commissioners Court will hold Sheriff Rader accountable for his poor management practices or just pass the costs onto taxpayers.