December 19, 2014

Elyria
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5. County officials investigate sick time use

Lorain County auditor Mark R. Stewart CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Former Lorain County auditor Mark R. Stewart CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

When former Lorain County Auditor Mark Stewart retired at the end of 2012, he left behind more 1,200 hours of unused sick time from his days before he became an elected official.

But Stewart found a way to cash out that money, being hired by his hand-picked successor, Craig Snodgrass, to work on county Board of Revision cases.

After working four hours on a Saturday in April, Stewart decided the work wasn’t for him, resigned and promptly cashed out 1,000 hours worth on unused sick leave for a payout of $18,080.

After The Chronicle-Telegram reported the payment in September, county officials launched an investigation that determined that Stewart was only entitled to cash out 250 hours and get paid $4,520.

Stewart ultimately agreed to repay the money he was overpaid, but county officials said the damage had been done.

The county commissioners blamed the Stewart scandal in part for the defeat of a sales tax hike they had hoped to pass in November.