County officials were overpaid, audit says
An ongoing audit by the state shows Okmulgee County elected officials have received $382,403 in salary overpayments, exceeding the maximum amounts allowed by state law.
Elected officials receiving the overpayments include county commissioners, sheriff, treasurer, county clerk, court clerk and county assessor.
A letter was sent by State Auditor & Inspector Cindy Byrd to Okmulgee County District Attorney Carol Iski on Wednesday notifying her of the overpayments.
The excessive salaries are said to have occurred over a six-year period since fiscal year 2014.
Sheriff Eddy Rice was surprised to learn of the overpayments during a meeting Wednesday with DA Iski.
Rice stated that charges are not likely since there was no criminal intent. A line item that was mistakenly entered incorrectly threw off the entire formula calculations for the payments resulting in the salary increase.
Elected county officials maximum salaries are determined by a complicated formula and then must be approved by the county commissioners.
“I was shocked, really all of us were shocked when we found out,” County Commissioner Robert Hardridge said. “The state auditor’s office has had this information for a number of years and we have always been transparent and provided them the information they need. We are going to make every effort to make corrections.”
Hardridge also concurred that no illegal intent was done.
District Attorney Carol Iski had this to say:
" I learned of the audit findings yesterday. The audit is still ongoing but I can say that it appears that the salaries were calculated by figures that were incorrect. Apparently, there is a formula used to reach this figures, and the formula was incorrectly interpreted which resulted in an incorrect amount for each person's salary. I have not been informed that there is any evidence of any wrongdoing or fraud, but a costly misinterpretation."
County officials are looking at a special meeting Monday to address the issue.
According to The Oklahoman, the state's normal audit process did not review those calculations in the past, but Byrd asked her audit staff to examine how counties made those calculations due to what happened in Grady County.
In January, an investigative audit found current and former Grady County elected officials were overpaid by more than $727,000 over a 10-year period.
Because the audit is not yet finished, the findings have not been released.