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July 1, 2022

Shelby County Sheriff Payroll – Part I Of The Truth

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On May 16, 2022

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

A recent forensic audit of the Sheriff’s Office payroll identified massive problems, however, there has been no further inquiry by the County Board who should be taking steps to make things right.  That would include paying anyone underpaid and recovering funds from those overpaid and demanding prosecution for those situations that are clearly fraudulent.

The current Treasurer, Erica Firnhaber, spoke with the prior State’s Attorney regarding concerns over the county’s refusal to provide actual timecard information, lack of recordkeeping, and alleged fraud.  “Offices have not kept timesheets documenting days and actual hours worked by employees.” – (Treasure Firnhaber).  According to Firnhaber, the SA informed her to do what she felt she needed to do, which in this case was to file a formal criminal complaint about alleged payroll fraud.

We know that complaint was investigated by the Illinois State Police and turned over to the Attorney General.  We have requested those records but have been told by both agencies that this criminal investigation is ongoing. If it’s still ongoing then it would indicate Firnhaber’s complaint was with merit.

What happens when you upset the applecart by asking for supporting documentation on submitted payroll in Shelby County?

“On December 20, 2019, I was called into a meeting with attorney Ed Flynn and Gina and told I did not have a legal right to that documentation and that I could not act as the county auditor. I was told I had to pay any request from the Sheriff and not question it, even though I have proof of illegal payments being submitted.” (Treasurer Firnhaber)

Every citizen has a legal right to the documentation in question and every citizen, including elected officials, has a right to conduct their own audit to identify the legality of payments requested and made.  When the Treasure pushed back and refused to make certain payments the County Board attempted to remove her rather than accept the truth of the matter which was a massive problem in the county, partially exposed by the recent forensic audit. Those findings confirm the Treasurers concerns raised and ignored by the former State’s Attorney and numerous county board members and several department heads.

Here are a few payroll issues identified for one person and part of the ongoing criminal investigation.  Due to the number of problems and people, it will take several articles to expose them all so please be patient.

  • EXHIBIT 1 Log-In FileLog-Out File “Harold Lawson was paid 20-8 hour days at $18.27 an hour of benefit time he did not have to use.  The total overpayment was $2,923.20.  He was done working for the county on March 13, 2019.  He was promoted to full time on June 13, 2017.  He should have received 40 hours of vacation on June 13, 2018.  On December 14, 2018 he cashed out 8 hours of vacation.  On January 1, 2019 he was credited with 80 hours of vacation that should not be credited until June 13, 2019.  Harold Lawson was credited with 8 comp hours for a holiday on April 19, 2019 when he had not reported to work since March 13.  This comp time was then paid out on April 27, 2019.  Harold Lawson went out with a terminal illness in March and yet there was not one sick day taken the first month and a half of 2019.  I do not have documentation prior to January 2019 on his attendance report. I do not have documentation prior to January 2019 on his attendance report.  We have received log in/out reports from the Sheriff’s department but those only go back as far as April 25, 2019.  I believe the FOIA request was for all of 2019 but that has not been produced.  We were provided with the calendars with the schedules each month and told these are used for timesheets.  Clearly, on March 14-17 and 20th, Harold Lawson is on the schedule but he did not work and was paid sick time..”

Most people would agree that getting paid for days you are not even employed anymore would constitute payroll fraud.

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1 Comment
  • Publius
    Posted at 11:28h, 17 May Reply

    Comp time is the biggest taxpayer ripoff ever invented. When Kurt Prenzler brought time clocks into MadCo they went berserk too and to this day the Sheriff still doesn’t use them.

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