The Southern Water and Sewer District Commission opted not to pay sick time to former manager Dean Hall this week.
During a May 28 meeting, the commission considered a requested payment of accumulated sick time to Hall, with Chairman Jeff Prater saying Hall had about 400 hours of sick time before he resigned.
“I talked to Dean earlier that day (of his resignation) and I told him I would bring this before the board,” Prater said, “and Dean felt like that he, as having been a 20-some-year employee, he wants you to consider giving him, or letting him use his … sick leave. He had accrued a lot of sick leave.”
Southern Water attorney Steve Bailey said Hall is entitled to his vacation time, but there is no legal requirement for payment of accumulated sick leave.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission opened an investigation on March 11, seeking to determine whether Hall violated state laws and regulations during his tenure as Southern Water manager.
Officials reported that Hall was injured at work on March 22, a few days before the commission approved an emergency management contract with Pikeville-based Utilities Management Group. Hall resigned via a May 2 letter, and, on May 6, the PSC dismissed the investigation into his work with the district. That order said, “Based on the Commission’s finding that prima facie evidence existed regarding the alleged violations, a civil penalty against Mr. Hall would have potentially been assessed had he not resigned.”
Several questions were raised in a hearing in a separate PSC case this month, including allegations related to purchases at restaurants, a brewery and a grocery store from a credit card that officials said Hall used, and the amenities on his Southern Water truck, which included a satellite radio subscription and heated leather seats.
Southern Commissioner Rick Roberts reference the questions raised by the PSC when he addressed the request for sick time payments.
“I would have to say before I vote that I oppose,” Roberts said. “Like, he resigned, you know. We paid him his vacation. That’s appropriate, but not sick time. And, you know, you’ve got to take into consideration what’s happened here in the last couple of months with the PSC and the hearing, and things that him and some of the employees have been, I guess, maybe accused of, or whatever. I think we’ve been more than fair enough with Mr. Hall.”
He made a motion not to pay Hall sick time, but it did not receive a second. Prater asked for a motion to pay the sick time, but that request failed for a lack of a motion.
“I understand the situation, but I made that promise,” Prater said, about presenting the topic for discussion.
Southern Water payroll records indicate that Hall earned more than $18,000 from about 400 hours of work at the district this year. One official said he earned more than $32 per hour as manager.