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COLUMBIANA COUNTY Audit reveals one employee was accidentally overpaid for vacation



Published: Thu, June 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The county incorrectly applied its vacation leave policy.

LISBON -- Columbiana County inadvertently overpaid an employee by $6,633 when she retired in 2003, according to an audit of the county's finances released Tuesday.

The state auditor's office issued a finding of recovery against Shirley Palmer, an employee of the juvenile court, after determining in the audit for the 2003 fiscal year that the county had incorrectly applied its own policy on accumulated vacation leave.

Palmer was paid $10,344 when she retired, based on 1,114 hours of accumulated vacation, but the audit determined she was entitled to only $3,710 for 287 hours, the report said.

According to county policy, vacation leave cannot be carried over for more than three years. However, a county employee is entitled to compensation upon retirement or leaving their job for the pro-rated portion of any earned, but not used, leave for up to three years preceding the last anniversary date of employment.

The audit determined that Palmer was eligible to carry over a maximum of 800 hours of leave, but had used 513 in that time period, for a net of 287.

Juvenile Court Judge Thomas Baronzzi, Palmer's former employer, could not be reached for comment.

It is not known whether the Columbia County prosecutor's office will seek to collect the overpayment. Prosecutor Robert Herron did not return calls seeking comment.

The finding was the only major negative on the audit, which cautioned the county about three bookkeeping issues, two of which have been corrected. None of them resulted in any loss of county funds.




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