County to ask Patton to return overpayment

Published 10:07 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to formally ask Former County Administrator Tom Patton to return a $1,600 overpayment that he was not entitled to, after his Feb. 28 resignation.

During the Tuesday, Feb. 28, meeting in which Patton submitted his resignation, the board agreed in executive session to pay him $29,408, which was based on total itemized sick time, accrued personal time off and days worked.

However, it was later discovered that the amount was in error and featured four days of pay that Patton was not entitled to, amounting to $1,600.

Commissioner Russell Smith made a motion to send Patton a certified letter requesting that the money be returned to the county. Commissioner Dr. David C. “Butch” Mosely then asked Smith to amend his motion to state that if Patton refused, the board then would authorize County Attorney Brown Moseley to file a suit in the magistrate court, to recover the money on behalf of the county.

The board voted on the motions unanimously.

Earlier in the meeting, the board retroactively approved Patton’s resignation. This was necessarily because the original actions were made in an executive session at the Feb. 28 meeting. It is legal to discuss planned votes and actions in executive session; however, they must be restated in open session in order to be legitimate.

The board approved 5-0 to retroactively approve the resignation. Commissioner Dr. Earl Perry abstained from the vote, because he was not present for the original Feb. 28 meeting.