The City of Minden will begin paying lost wages and collecting overpayments made to employees of the police and fire departments.
The city council approved the measure in a special meeting earlier this week.
The move comes after an internal audit of the police and pay revealed numerous errors within the police officer and firemen’s pay.
The audit – which went back to 2006 – revealed that five officers’ raises were incorrectly calculated when they were promoted in November 2001. The error was discovered in January 2012 and officers paid back the funds monthly over a period of a year.
Also in the findings, one officer was promoted in January 2012 and received a raise that was incorrectly calculated. Because of the error, the officer was overpaid for more than three years. The error was discovered in March 2015 and the officer now owes more than $9k to the city for the overpayments.
An overpayment also occurred when an officer was promoted in December 2007. The officer should have received a raise of $90 a month, but received $180 a month, according to the city’s audit. The officer has been overpaid since December 2007 and the funds have yet to be recovered.
Other findings within the police department included errors in the yearly longevity payment for one officer where they never received his yearly longevity raise, holiday pay rate being incorrectly calculated and differences between documents and the computer system.
Within the fire department, the audit revealed the city did not include the state supplemental pay when calculating the annual longevity
raise as according to law for fire fighters. The error caused all but four firefighters to be underpaid.
The state supplemental pay was also not used when determining Fair Labor Standards Act hours, as well holiday pay, according to the findings.
One fire fighter was promoted in 2007 and the raise was calculated incorrectly. According to the audit, the firefighter has been overpaid $89 a month since the promotion.
Other findings included two firemen not receiving longevity raises for two years.
The city plans to collect all overpayments made to the employees from their date of hire.
Mayor Tommy Davis cited Chapter 7 Article 14 of the Louisiana Constitution as the reason for collecting all over payments made.
“Any overpayments made could be considered misuse of public funds so we are going all the way back to collect the money,” he said.
While the city plans on going back to the date of hire to collect over payments, any underpayments made to employees will only be paid for three years back – even if the error goes back further.
“It’s all we have to go back according to the statute,” Davis said on why the city is only going back three years rather than the date of hire to pay lost wages and cited Civil Code 3494 as the basis.
No timeline on when the payments to employees and collections would begin.