ELLSWORTH, Maine — Sheriff William Clark threw another log on the fire Monday in the dispute between officials in Hancock County by issuing a press release that criticizes how the county has managed its payroll system.
Clark disputed public claims by Steve Joy, chairman of the county commissioners, that a time clock system adopted by the county in 2009 helped expose a case of employee theft at the county jail later that year. Janine Gardner, who worked as a corrections officer at the jail, eventually pleaded guilty to stealing $11,500 from the county by falsifying her time sheets.
The theft was not exposed by the new time clock system, Clark wrote in the release.
“It was discovered by an observant jail staff member who compiled the information from the facility’s [old] manual payroll system,” Clark indicated.
Clark also criticized the time clocks and the county’s new payroll system in the release by saying that they actually have cost county taxpayers more money. The county used to manage its own payroll system in-house but now has its payroll managed by a local bank. The new, outsourced payroll system, he suggested, has not resulted in promised savings for the county.
County commissioners have said the purpose of implementing the time clock and associated payroll system was to streamline the amount of paperwork department heads had to do each pay period.
Clark and other county officials, some of them elected, have been highly critical of Phil Roy, the county’s chief financial officer. Roy has been accused of mishandling money he managed, outside his job in Hancock County, for the Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board and for the Maine Republican Party.
The time clock system in Hancock County was installed in 2009, a few months after Roy was hired as the county’s CFO.
Clark wrote in the release that either Joy is misleading the public about the benefits of the time clock system or is being misled by Roy.
Joy, contacted by phone on Monday, expressed exasperation with the sheriff’s continuing public allegations of financial mismanagement by the commissioners and declined to comment on Clark’s statement.
Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.