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DeSoto County Sheriff pays $20K out of pocket for department overpayment

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 5:36 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department is being transparent about why the Sheriff paid a large amount of money to resolve overpayment issues.

“We were in the hole for about $19,000,” said DeSoto County Chief Deputy Justin Smith.

Smith says the department discovered employee time-off was being coded incorrectly since the beginning of the pandemic to November of last year.

“Some of the time that we paid out was coded as administrative leave when it should have been paid COVID leave, some of that time should have been coded as sick leave, and the sick leave matters are the ones that we had to rectify,” said Smith.

Smith said the department launched an internal audit, which showed they needed to make good on $19,947.54, that’s the amount Sheriff Bill Rasco paid out of pocket to settle the issue.

“When we discovered this was at a time after we had already had several employees that had passed away from COVID, and the only way to rectify that was to get a cash payment to make the taxpayers whole, the Sheriff did what he felt was morally correct and wrote a check,” said Smith.

Smith says the department lost three employees to COVID. He says COVID made things chaotic which caused this issue in the first place.

“It just got very hectic, very quickly,” said Smith.

The matter has been resolved, the Mississippi State Auditors office said in part, “We consider this issue resolved at this time, if we receive any other information we will investigate at that time.”

Chief Deputy Smith also says the department updated their polices, which were also attorney approved so that this does not happen again.

This issue was discussed in Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Action News 5 reached out to the board, and the board attorney but did not hear back.

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