Officials balk at payout to departing employee




GREENFIELD — A big payout to a departing employee has Hancock County officials scratching their heads and considering an overhaul in the county’s personnel policy.

The Hancock County Council last week was asked to approve more than $20,000 in payout to Cindy Crispin, a deputy prosecutor who resigned Jan. 9 after working for the county two years.

Ultimately, the council approved the compensation. But the high figure, mixed with confusion over county vs. state policy on departing employees, has several officials saying more needs to be done to rein in expenses.

Most of the payout was for compensatory time. A normal county government work week is 35 hours, and if a county employee works between 36 and 40 hours, they are to be compensated on an hour-to-hour basis, Prosecutor Michael Griffin said. Anything over 40 hours can be paid time-and-a-half.

While Griffin would prefer his deputies to take time off instead of being paid, that didn’t happen in Crispin’s case. He said the workload is high; according to the Hancock County auditor’s office, Crispin had accrued 405 hours of compensatory time over two years – totaling $15,467.

Chief Deputy Tami Napier told the council Crispin’s payout was “about $18,000,” but Auditor Robin Lowder said after the meeting that unused sick time, vacation time and retirement benefits brought the total payout to $23,706. She said the high figure was rare: Most department heads, she said, require employees to burn off the accrued hours through comp time.

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