NEW HAMPTON — New Hampton’s former police chief carried over vacation time for an employee after the officer wasn’t able to use the time, according to a state audit released Wednesday.
The audit also found the former chief kept track of compensatory time off the books in a system outside the officers’ union agreement, and destroyed records related to the time when he left the department.
The special investigation by State Auditor Rob Sand was requested by the current chief after concerns the officer’s vacation was not properly recorded in the payroll system.
An officer and a civilian employee who handles payroll were placed on paid administrative leave in September when the new chief raised the concerns, according to the audit.
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The audit reviewed the period between Jan. 1, 2016, through Sept. 29, 2018, and identified 72 hours of vacation carried forward on the employee’s anniversary date, which exceeded the limit of 40 hours. However, the former police chief, Mike Anderson, reported he approved the carryover because the employee had been prevented from using his vacation before his anniversary date as a result of situations in which the chief needed him for department operations.
In addition, the employee used a total of 10 days — 80 hours — of vacation during the pay period ending Aug. 20, 2016. However, the payroll system did not reflect any vacation hours used for the pay period, according to the audit. According to the former chief, he approved the use of earned compensatory time for the employee’s August 2016 vacation.
In August 2016, compensatory time earned by police department employees was not recorded in the payroll system but was maintained by the former chief outside of the city’s payroll system. Sometime when officers worked outside normal schedules, they opted to earn comp time instead of being paid overtime, according to the audit.
The former chief said because all employees had exhausted their balances of compensatory time prior to his retirement, he destroyed the related records when he left the department, according to the audit.