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Posted on: May 17, 2017

Sheriff Peterkin Ignores Payroll Irregularities

Sheriff Hubert Peterkin’s press release today is an attempt to deflect the public’s attention away from the investigations of payroll overtime irregularities in the Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center.

On Monday, Cherry Bekaert presented a thorough and transparent report of the initial findings of the County’s investigation first to the District Attorney and SBI and later to the Hoke County Commissioners and the public.

Today, Sheriff Peterkin went to extraordinary lengths to point out the total amount of overtime he approved for his departments. This misses the key point delivered by Cherry Bekaert: That overtime paid to certain employees in the Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center is “highly irregular.”

Cherry Bekaert found 34 employees in the Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center whose overtime appears to be highly irregular. The numerous exceptions noted by Cherry Bekaert included 341 instances where overtime logged did not include any justification whatsoever.

Scott McKay, the Cherry Bekaert partner leading the investigation, urged the District Attorney and SBI to investigate this highly irregular overtime. The District Attorney has agreed to expand the criminal investigation. However, since this presentation of Cherry Bekaert’s initial findings, Sheriff Peterkin has yet to publicly offer to assist with this expanded overtime investigation in departments he manages.

In addition, Sheriff Peterkin has attempted to undermine the County’s investigation by refusing the County’s request to obtain and inspect copies of his timesheets in order confirm the legitimacy of the excess overtime and exceptions identified in the Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center.

We agree with The Fayetteville Observer that these investigations should be transparent and done in the “full light of day.” Sheriff Peterkin should exercise good judgment and cooperate with the County by immediately delivering the requested timesheets and other information necessary for Cherry Bekaert to complete its work. These results can then be immediately turned over to the SBI.

The Sheriff did correctly note that the County approves his department’s budget in the aggregate and processes the payroll for his employees. However, as he would likely agree, the responsibility for making sure that overtime is appropriately justified and properly authorized rests squarely with him. By approving the Sheriff’s budget, the County does not approve any misuse or mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.

Sheriff Peterkin was aggressive in beginning this investigation, resulting in the execution of an SBI search warrant against Hoke County’s administrative offices. We hope that, for the good of our citizens, he’ll be just as eager to cooperate with the County’s internal investigation and produce the timesheets and other information Cherry Bekaert needs to quickly bring this matter to a close.