Home News Local news Finance Says It's Not At Fault for BOC Pay Problem

Finance Says It's Not At Fault for BOC Pay Problem


Oct. 5, 2005 — Finance Commissioner Bernice Turnbull said Wednesday morning that problems relating to back pay at the Corrections Bureau are not the fault of her department.
Instead, Turnbull said the Corrections Bureau submitted incorrect information to the Finance Department regarding nine months of overtime, night differential and holiday pay owed to the officers.
"There is no problem with the department's system," Turnbull said. "The information that was given to us by the bureau was incorrect. We gave it back to them, and it has since been corrected and given back to us."
Turnbull's remarks refuted statements made last week by corrections officers who said Agnes George, the bureau's acting assistant warden, told them the holdup with receiving the money was with the Finance Department. While George has not returned calls made by the Source to discuss the matter, Steven Lewis, the bureau's chief corrections officer, did say Finance is to blame (See Corrections Officers Say They are Still Owed Back Pay).
A press release sent Tuesday from the office of acting Attorney General Kerry Drue said the Justice Department is also working to correct the situation.
Drue said the department has "every intention of paying the money" and was only informed Sept. 30 that the officers have not been receiving it in their checks.
Drue also held a meeting with Turnbull and George to address the issue. "Warden George was instructed that all steps should be taken to resolve the matter immediately," the release said. Justice spokeswoman Judy Gomez also said Drue had asked Turnbull if Finance would be able to issue the officers a supplemental check for the Sept. 29 pay period to give them all their back pay.
Gomez said Turnbull told Drue the officers had already been issued a pay check on Sept. 29, and Department of Finance could not issue more than one check for the same pay period. Therefore, Turnbull said all back pay will be included in the officers' Oct. 13 check.
The Bureau's shop steward, Allen Nibbs, said Drue also held a brief meeting with him and other officers to discuss the matter. Nibbs said at the meeting, he asked Drue if a request could be filed with the Inspector General to conduct an audit on the Bureau.
"This is the second time the Department of Finance has sent our pay information back to us," Nibbs said. "It's because Warden George is deliberately trying to give wrong information. An audit would expose what's really going on at the Bureau." Gomez said Drue had no objections to Nibbs' suggestion.
When contacted Wednesday, Inspector General Steven van Beverhoudt said the request had not yet been made, and his office would not be able to undertake the project now due to a lack of resources.
The release further said George had issued a memorandum to her staff on Sept. 30, identifying the problem as a "miscommunication" between the Bureau and Finance Department which has "created a difficult situation for the officers." In that memorandum, George also said the money would be included in checks issued for Oct. 13.

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