December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain County officials question sick time payout to former auditor

Mark R. Stewart / CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Mark R. Stewart / CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA – Former Lorain County Auditor Mark Stewart may have been overpaid by $13,560 when he cashed out unused sick time left over from his time as a county employee earlier this year, county officials said Wednesday.

Stewart, who retired at the end of 2012, was paid $18,080 for 1,000 hours of unused sick time he accumulated as a county employee before becoming an elected official in 1995. He qualified for a payout by coming back to work four hours for his successor, county Auditor Craig Snodgrass, in April.

But county Commissioner Ted Kalo said the payout may have run afoul of a rule implemented in 2005 that limits payouts to new hires – which Stewart was technically considered when he returned in April – to being paid out only for 250 hours worth of accumulated sick time when they retire or resign.

“There’s no way he should ever be paid out 1,000 hours,” Kalo said.

Kalo said he began questioning the payout, first reported by The Chronicle-Telegram on Sunday, after he and the other commissioners received numerous complaints from residents, including those they had asked to support a sales tax increase and property tax rollback that will appear on the November ballot.

He said the commissioners knew nothing about the payout, which was done through money controlled by Snodgrass.

Kalo and his fellow commissioners said they want to recoup the money from Stewart.

Read Thursday’s Chronicle for more on this story.