Promotion, appointment paid off for interim chief

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By Forrest Berkshire, Editor

Bardstown Police Capt. McKenzie Mattingly collected overtime while filling the role of an exempt position, came out thousands of dollars ahead when cashing out accrued personal leave and was paid at a higher rate than authorized for at least the last four months, according to documents examined by The Kentucky Standard.

Mattingly made $18 an hour during pay periods leading up to June 4, while he was a narcotics detective and prior to his promotion to captain.

But in June, Mattingly’s average hourly earnings rose to $28.44 an hour, and by July 3 he was making $29.29, according to a year’s worth of pay stubs obtained by The Kentucky Standard through an open records request.

That put his pay rate on the upper half of the authorized pay band for a police captain, which ranges from $23.40 to $35.10 an hour. But it also placed him on the low side of the range for a police chief, which ranges from $28.44 to $42.66 an hour. A captain is eligible for overtime, but police chief is a salaried position exempt from overtime.

Bardstown Police Chief Steve Uram said Tuesday he is exempt from overtime and paid at a rate of $32.69 an hour based on a 40-hour week.

Mattingly was appointed interim police chief in June after Rick McCubbin retired, and served in that position until Uram was hired in November.

During those five months, Mattingly continued to be paid overtime.

That prompted Bardstown Chief Financial Officer Tracy Hudson to send an email to Mayor John Royalty in August.

“McKenzie had 25 hours of overtime in the pay period ending (Aug. 13). As interim chief, he has been given job duties, the hourly rate, and therefore, should be subject to salary. When the city had an interim fire chief, this employee was given the salary of a fire chief and he was not allowed any overtime,” Hudson wrote in an email that was included as an exhibit to the report of the Bardstown City Council’s recent investigation of the mayor.

City Human Resources Director Larry Green said Tuesday morning that he was aware of the overtime. He said once Mattingly recorded overtime on his time sheet after taking over as interim chief, Green brought the issue up with the mayor.

“He said ‘Go ahead and pay the overtime,’” Green said. “That was the extent of the conversation.”

Green also confirmed that when an interim fire chief was appointed, that person did not accrue overtime.

Mattingly was paid $7,064.99 for 152 hours of overtime during the pay periods he was interim chief, according to a Kentucky Standard analysis of his pay stubs. In one pay period, between July 3 and July 16, Mattingly was paid for 30.5 hours of overtime.

In October, after Bardstown City Council was made aware that the department was spending overtime at almost twice the rate budgeted, the department cracked down on overtime. After Oct. 9, Mattingly’s overtime dropped to zero.

But he was still able to cash out 350 hours of accrued personal leave in October for $10,251.50, according to his pay stub for the Oct. 9-22 pay period. Most of that time — 330 hours — was accrued while he was earning $18 an hour or less. But the payout was calculated at a rate of $29.29 an hour for the entire 350 hours. That meant about an extra $3,700 than if the compensation for the personal time had been calculated using the hourly rate he was earning when he accrued it.

Green said city policy allows for employees to cash out their personal leave, and that as the policy reads, the payout to Mattingly fell within those guidelines.

Green said Mattingly’s case was “a little unusual” because of the large pay raise he received when he was elevated to interim chief.

And, the financial benefits continued to flow to Mattingly.

Green said the personnel action that moved Mattingly to interim chief raised his pay rate to $28.44, then a citywide raise in July bumped it to $29.29. But that personnel action stipulated that after a new police chief was hired, Mattingly’s pay was to go to $24.50 an hour, Green said.

But that never happened.

Mattingly continued to be paid at a rate of $29.29 through at least March 25, according to the pay stubs the Standard received. Green confirmed as of Tuesday, Mattingly was still making $29.29. He said that would change immediately.

That oversight cost the city at least approximately $3,597.96 in overpaid wages and overtime from Nov. 20 to March 25, according to a Kentucky Standard analysis of Mattingly’s pay stubs for those pay periods.

Uram started Nov. 10, which was in the middle of a pay period.