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Sunday, October 06, 2013

Ind. Courts - Board of Accounts audit questions Muncie City Court Judge Dianna Bennington payments to employee for days not worked

Here is the story by Douglas Walker and Keith Roysdon in the Muncie Star-Press. From the story:

The audit, posted in recent days, carries the subhead “Ghost Employment” and alleges that City Court Judge Dianna Bennington paid a former court employee, Leah Alexander, $1,006.72 for vacation and sick/personal time off that she didn’t legitimately have to take. When Alexander took paid time off — a few days here and there — during the first half of 2012, she hadn’t worked for the city long enough to accrue the paid time off.

Nevertheless, Bennington — on a couple of occasions — approved the time off. At one point, she signed a blank time card for Alexander, former daughter-in-law of veteran Muncie attorney Michael J. “Mick” Alexander.

The audit quotes Indiana law about ghost employment and cites another instance, later in 2012, when the state found discrepancies in city court employee time cards.

ILB: Here is the SBA audit, filed 9/26/13 - it covers the year 2012. From pages 7 & 8:
City Court Judge Exit Conference

The contents of this report were discussed on August 7, 2013, with Leah Alexander, former City Court employee. The Official Response from Leah Alexander has been made a part of this report and may be found on page 8. We attempted to meet with Dianna Bennington, City Court Judge, but we received no replies to our requests to meet.

Report comment:

Judge Bennington approved vacation time as a condition of my employment at the Muncie City Court. I never expected to be compensated for the time off, however Judge Bennington stated that she would pay me for that time off. Judge Bennington stated that since she is the Judge that she is permitted to grant time off and compensate as she sees fit. Regarding personal/sick time, Judge Bennington approved and compensated me for that time as well. I was under the assumption that the Court's personnel policies were separate from the City's policies. I have made payment arrangements with the City Controller's office.

Leah Alexander

Today's Muncie Star-Press story concludes:
Although the audit might hold repercussions for Alexander’s checking account, Bennington won’t face a criminal penalty over the matter.

Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold said last week he was aware of the audit’s reference to “ghost employment,” but he said he didn’t intend to file any related charges.

“(A State Board of Accounts official) didn’t think there were any intentional crimes committed, and neither did I,” the prosecutor said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 6, 2013 07:41 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts