Tuesday, November 6, 2012

McLennan Court to pay unaccounted comp time

'Should you have any further questions...'
Bulletin:  Commissioners agreed to pay the full claim of $734.48 overtime

Six Shooter Junction – Today, five hard headed businessmen, three of them rock-ribbed Republicans, sat down to ponder this conundrum for what is at least the third time.

It's a very mysterious matter, one that Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna described on the record in a previous session of McLennan County Commissioners Court as having “tiptoed into the criminal.” The Court then quickly went into the privacy of an executive session to deliberate further. (Please click on the red arrow below to hear an audio recording)

Judge Jean Laster Boone
According to records that don't really exist, former Precinct 7 Justice Court Deputy Clerk Belinda Harden worked 12 hours on Saturday, June 23, of this year.

Earlier, on the fifth of November, 2011, she worked 10 and half hours. At the time, she turned in a time card that claimed she worked a regular 40-hour week.

All that changed when she chose to resign from her job earlier this year and claimed she worked a total of 71 and a half hours of compensatory time during her tenure at McLennan County over the regular 40-hour work week. She had been paid 21.25 hours of comp time at the rate of about $12.45 per hour, leaving a balance.

Curiously, a spread sheet turned over with the material placed on today's court agenda showed that she is claiming to have worked 12 hours on the twenty-third of June, 2012, and ten and 10.5 hours on the eleventh of November, 2011.

Knowledgeable observers of justice court procedures – the kind of people who file writs of probable cause in support of arrest and search warrants, request the services of the on-call Justice of the Peace at the site of deceased persons who passed in violent, accidental or suspicious ways, or testify in matters before the Court – merely roll their eyes and shrug their shoulders.

To say that the matter strains the bounds of credibility is a mild statement.

One could consider the memorandum Judge Jean Laster Boone wrote to County Auditor Stan Chambers regarding the claim.

“As you are aware, the compensatory time earned by Ms. Harden was maintained administratively by a staff member who has since retired from McLennan County and my office has been unable to locate the original compensatory time sheet which began with a zero balance...”

He gave the opinion that because of federal law, the compensatory time must be paid. The same battery of federal law holds that certain employees may be compensated and not paid cash for time worked over the 40-hour work week, but when they terminate their employment, they must be paid in cash.

Long ago, the Court elected to pay Deputy Sheriff's Officers overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours during a pay period.

Nevertheless, the Judge admitted when questioned by former County Judge Jim Lewis that her timekeeper turned in a claim during the affected periods of 40 hours of straight time worked for the pay periods that are involved. On the other hand, though records were kept under a system peculiar to the office, those records do not exist, or, at least, cannot be located.

In times prior to that, there was no uniform system for reporting compensatory time worked. Each department had developed a system to the liking of the head of the department and its timekeeper.


  1. fool us once...fool us twice....

    too bad she can hide behind Gibson and not have happen what SHOULD

  2. Men are bothered not by things; men are bothered by the view which they take of things. Therefore, demand not that events happen as you wish; wish that events happen as they happen, and your life will be serene. - Epictetus, from "The Enchiridion"