IS IT TRUE November 20, 2013

Mole #3 Nostradamus of Local Politics
Mole #3 Nostradamus of Local Politics

IS IT TRUE the City of Evansville may have bitten off more than it will be able to chew and digest with the recent revelation that it is standard practice to allow city employees to accrue compensatory time that exceeds the federal labor law limits of 480 hours for police and fire or 240 hours for other public employees?…the house of cards is likely to be rattled and shaken when the 50+ employees who are carrying excessive comp time learn that the time to collect this time is limited to 2 years and that the statute of limitations for filing a claim is 3 years?…there is a real possibility depending on personal circumstance that many of the hours currently on the books got there through a possible illegal practice and will be forfeited?…it is up to each employee to schedule the comp time off and unless there is a material disruption the employer (City of Evansville) cannot legally prevent them from taking this time off?…the CCO expects there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the EFD and the EPD over the City’s standard practice of  possible violating of federal labor laws?

IS IT TRUE the question remains just how could such a seemly blatant illegal practice go on under the noses of the City Department Heads, the past and present City Controllers, the last three Mayors, and the HR Department?…it is also interesting that the State Board of Accounts seems to have let this issue slip under their noses during the annual audits?…the other question that needs to be asked is why the City of Evansville HR department could allow this to happen?…ignorance of federal labor laws by a city that receives CDBG dollars is not an expectation or a defense for such a lack of oversight?…complacency in allowing supposedly unknowing department heads to habitually violate federal labor laws is not an acceptable defense for the damages done either?…as for Mayor Winnecke, his public statements make it acutely obvious that he knew this when he was interviewed in September regarding the dismissal of EMA Director Sherman Greer partially for allowing an employee to accumulate 1,100 hours of comp time over a period of years?…THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING FEDERAL LAWS AND FOR TRAINING DEPARTMENT HEADS IN HOW TO COMPLY WITH THESE LAWS?…this is yet another  combination of ignorance and arrogance from local government?…we wonder just what would ever possess a department head to make a statement like “I am not losing any sleep over this” when people in executive positions have gone to jail for federal labor law violations?

IS IT TRUE it would be interesting to learn what has been done in the past when people with comp time over the federal limits have retired, resigned, or been fired?…if any former city employees have cashed out excess comp time that may just open the door for everyone to do so?…Evansville may not be in compliance with federal law until no one has any hours that are above the statutory limits?…that may take many millions of tax dollars to achieve this compliance?…this is dollars that we don’t have money in the budget because the facts about the $5 Million of unbudgeted liability were seemly intentionally withheld from the City Council during the budget hearings?…we wonder how many budgets have been passed with excessive  comp time on the books but not listed as a unbudgeted liability?


  1. In general, is it true that it is cheaper to pay(hide) overtime to current employees, then to put in sufficient manpower into the yearly city budget?

  2. Isn’t this whole issue why that dirty cop Mosby got a huge check after being fired? Also, how come you never reported thoroughly why the good ole boy got fired?

  3. Looks like the Mayor and City Controller Russ LLoyd, Jr. have a lot of explaining to do.

    • Why does this place constantly place all blame on the guy who is trying to fix the place?

      Probably the same people who rage at a plumber when he tells you that you clogged up your pipes.

      Dems have run this town for decades and in reality, still do. One year with only the mayor (and a heavily dem council) and we are still just finding out all that was wrong and hidden.

  4. This is why I supported the Mayor in the Greer firing. He was on the right track – at least with his stated reasoning – of nipping this hidden comp time in the bud. Now he needs to follow through. That’s going to be quite unpleasant for those city employees not currently abiding by the law.

    It won’t be right or even legal to just stiff workers, who may not even be aware of federal limits. The hours were worked. The city employees must be compensated. Period. It’s time to clean up this mess, which is YET ANOTHER sour fruit of the legacy of past Administrations in Evansville. The books should be cleared and the practice of comp time banned by City Ordinance.

    • Greer’s situation was not comp time, but excessive overtime, in lieu of a pay raise, that added thousands of dollars to the employee’s pay. If the employee was given comp time it would not have increased his/her pay. Greer was circumnavigating the rules.

      • You’re right, I stand corrected on that. My call for consistency on the Mayor’s part stands. In both cases, budgets are fooled and circumvented by Dept. managers. It is the Mayor’s job to sort that out.

        Thanks for the correction!

    • Also, comp time for fire and police is a benefit for public safety. You can bring on more people during times of increased need and let them take the time off when there is less need. People need to be aware of the rules so it can be handled properly. The idea of making it illegal is a nanny state move. Less government intrusion and more personal accountability would be better.

      • The idea of limiting comp time could also be perceived as a nanny state move,but since we’re talking about positions that are already in the public sector, I don’t think either argument is particularly valid. My suggestion of a ban was brainstorming. You might be right about the police and fire issue. That argument does make some sense. Perhaps a stricter limit than 480 for police and fire is in order and all other positions should be banned from using it.

        My point is, it’s clearly being abused and needs closer scrutiny and control.

        • I agree there is an issue that needs to be resolved. It could be described as something sinister like abuse or it could be something innocent like a lack of understanding by the people involved. It’s been going on so long it’s hard to identify where the ground rules were initially drawn. Going forward, the laws need to be discussed and all parties need to strive for compliance. Is there a way for the employees to monitor their comp time and the expiration date? If not, maybe a system can be created.It may also take some more strategic thinking to handle the situations that are most likely to generate comp time. Also, I wonder how many of the employees would waive the comp time and donate it back? I never use all of my vacation time and essentially donate the money back to the company. Maybe there could be a pool that they can donate the time to help other employees when they need time off? I know that Linda White regularly donates her paid days off to other Deaconess employees when they are in need. Just brainstorming with you. We’re on the same side of the argument on this one.

          • A system was set in place ,they are called laws.whenever you break the system (laws) you have consequences to pay ,,,,nobody is above the law and you don’t change rules of any game because you get caught cheating.
            Have a good day my friend

          • Imagine a situation where a corporate officer pleaded ignorance with respect to the minimum wage, the 40 hour work week, and overtime laws. Imagine further that this person’s business had been paying less than the minimum wage for years and not paying overtime. What would your opinion of that corporate officer be? Would you give this person a pass for not knowing or would you expect them to know the law and manage by it?

            This comp time thing is no different and is governed by the same law. It took WFIE and the CCO less than a day to learn the rules and report on them. Why has the City of Evansville failed to comply? Is it laziness, ignorance, willful non-compliance, or refusal to even try? The city HR leader is responsible to learn the federal laws and train department heads in how to comply.

            Whether this is sinister, ignorance, or more of that good old boy let it slide way of life it is damaging to the city budget and unfair to the employees affected. It is also illegal. Should we just give everyone a pass?

          • Joe, I was referring to the ignorance of the employees. Everyone should know their rights as an employee. If there is a limit on comp time that you can accrue and you go past it, that’s your fault for agreeing to it. If you must use the time by a certain date and you let the date pass, that’s your responsibility. Do we blame the employer when the employee loses the vacation time that he has earned when he lets 12/31 go past? Of course not. Why are we throwing accusations of malfeasance at the city on this issue? I’m not advocating taking advantage of an employee and I’m not defending any position. I just think it’s not as cut & dry as the editor and the posters on here think. To me, there’s some gray area as to who is responsible for the issue.

            • Thanks for the clarification Phyllip. One thing here is cut and dry and that is the fact that federal limits on comp time accrual have been violated by the City of Evansville. There is nothing gray about that.

              The who, why, and when, questions are yet to be resolved but do need to be. Being in violation of things that should be easy to maintain compliance for just makes the place look more like Dogpatch. Hopefully the leadership will respond quickly with a correction plan, implement the solution, and cease the practice of violating federal labor laws.

              Another area that is not gray is the fact that as of yesterday adding comp time above the federal limits constitutes willful non-compliance. The ignorance excuse no longer applies.

              My gut feel is that this was ignorance and it was just good old boys repeating the mistakes of the good old boys that taught them this system in the first place. In the real world the company or in this case the government is responsible for knowing and enforcing federal law. It has not been done that way in Evansville. There will be consequences.

      • The idea of keeping comp time for police and fire would be contingent upon some proof of cost savings. The way I’m understanding it, I’m not sure there would be any savings versus just paying overtime at the time the hours were accrued and giving an extra vacation day some time later to balance it out.

  5. By the way, the 480 and 240 limits are in place in an attempt to protect the employee from getting stiffed, not so municipalities may stiff them. The city will be liable for ALL comp time, and maybe even more in penalties if there is a lawsuit.

    Again, this Mayor better follow through on his Greer rationale and nip this in the bud. If that means cutting fun and games and bike paths to do it, that’s what will have to be done.

  6. The City of Evansville Human Relations Director needs to be fired. The City Controller needs to fired for hiding this unbudgeted liability item from city councils members.

    • Never happen, with that logic all the department heads including the Winnecke appointed fire chief and police chief are also complacent and should be removed. It’s a much bigger issue than it might seem since it’s been used for years to keep the number of employees at a lower than needed numbers, it’s even been terms in contracts between the city and unions.

      This isn’t a Winnecke created problem, it’s been ongoing for many many years, but it looks like the mayor is going to have to deal with the status quo, it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with this “hot potato” issue while trying to maintain some sort of support among the rank and file for a reelection campaign.


  7. It has been painfully apparent for some time now that the current city controller is in way over his head.

    The State Board of Accounts is quite another story. Why that audit agency has not uncovered and reported these violations of statute speaks to their effectiveness in performing their mandated function. What else are they missing?


    • Really? The guy who finished the computer system installation, balanced the books and countless other things we will never hear about… he is the problem?

      Get a grip. The man is still cleaning up messes left for him by previous occupants.

      Once again, blaming the plumber who tells you that you clogged up the pipes.

  8. Very few employers allow for comp time. It is a thing from the past. The last of them that do surely would not allow it to be rolled to the next year.

  9. BORROWING AT INTEREST BY POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS: How do we get off of this merry-go-round?

    In today’s legal section of the public record the EVSC Chief Financial Officer Carl Underwood has posted a “Notice of Sale of Warrants issued in anticipation of receipt of current tax revenues levied for the year 2013 and in the course of collection for 2014.


    Transportation Fund: …………….$13,560,964.00

    Capital Projects Fund ……………$19,145,131.00


    Such loans shall be at a per annum rate not to exceed 6.5%, the exact rate to be determined by negotiations with the Indiana Bond Bank.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    There has to be a better way of controlling expenditures or collecting revenue and distributing it to the proper recipients. A way that puts a halt to the borrowing at interest for the routine running of the corporation.

    What we have is a school corporation that is hooked on the payday loan treadmill that is the bane of so many who have trouble handling their finances. The problem, of course, is that the taxpayers must not only pay the taxes in the first place, but also the interest on the “payday loans”.


    • I sent you an update on the Desert Hot Springs saga by email. The only reason that bankruptcy is being discussed is a contested election. They should not be considering bankruptcy period.

    • BTW, unless you think we are talking chump change here because they are warrants, and by statute can only be for a 1 year time period, I can assure we are not.

      Using 4% interest:

      $19 million = $760,000.

      $13.5 million = $540,000.

      Total ……… $1,300,000. additional taxpayer debt because EVSC expense payments and property tax revenue distributions can not be more effectively coordinated.


  10. The city as do the employees keep close tabs on comp time or owed time. Every employee can log on to his HR account at any time an see exactly what they have on the books. these are not secret accounts. Every supervisor keeps there own books that are open to employees. once a year every employee used to get a printed copy.
    I do not think the city would get away with not paying people for timed worked. The city would have to notify the employee that they would have to use them or lose them at the 480 mark. Also the supervisor would have to arrange for the time off. Pay the people off for the hours worked. If you do not you will owe them more later.

  11. If these employees were members of unions or fraternal orders, their business agents and union officials would be fully aware of these federal labor laws and would not have allowed this comp time travesty to have happened.
    Unless, of course, they are complicit in breaking the law.

    • Both the EPD and the EFD are in unions. Why the unions didn’t catch this or did and chose to be quiet is a question that needs to be answered.

  12. I suppose I should have put “Note sarcasm” in my previous post, but it’s hard for me to believe with employees accruing hundreds and hundreds of hours of comp time over a period of many years, nobody, either in the unions or administrations, saw a red flag being waved.

    The ignorance would have to be massive and communicable.

  13. Maybe we should hire a temp CPA to figure it out due to the fact that groupe of village idiots have no clue how to do it . Give the employ a day off each week to help cut down the comp time and let the others in the office know they will have to put forth a little more effort to get the work done. Rotate employees each week and for these people that don’t understand , it means each office will be working one person short each week. I’ve been there and I know it will work.

    • I hear David Garrett is available. He did a good job of fleshing out the city’s failures last year for a paltry sum of money. Maybe he will work for comp time.

  14. So Greer got fired for amassing this much comp time. Will the mayor be fair and balanced and FIRE everybody who is in the same boat here?

    • Can you believe that the Courier & Press is staying mute on this scandal? How irresponsible can journalism get? The CP is to Winnecke as Chris Matthews and MSNBC are to Obama.

  15. Go to the Area Plan Commission website ( and look at the BZA agenda for Thursday. Look at Docket # 2013-61-BZA. It appears the administration is in a case of CYA on outdoor advertising after complaints were filed about the Ford Center and their number of signs that exceed what they originally applied for.

    A person would think that since the Ford Center is technically a “government” building that they would at least know to follow the current zoning regulations regarding how many signs they applied for when the Ford Center was built. The above docket clearly states that this zoning variance is necessary because Area Plan Commission got complaints about the number of Ford Center signs, and review of the Ford Center documentation showed that they had exceeded by almost tripling the number of signs they had originally requested. While it is probably a forgone conclusion that the sign variance will be granted, the administration should have asked for the variance in advance, not after violating the local sign codes.

    IS IT TRUE that this appears to be a case where the administration simply chose to ask forgiveness instead of asking for proper permission?

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