IOWA - Officials Share $125,000 in Overtime to Fix Child Support Mess : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Title: Officials Share $125,000 in Overtime to Fix Child Support Mess

April 25, 2000

WHEATON, Ill. (AP) - Six top DuPage County administrators split nearly $125,000 in after-hours pay for fixing problems at the state's dysfunctional child-support check distribution unit, even though they aren't normally eligible for overtime pay.

One administrator, Dewey Hartman, received $56,000 for 750 hours of extra work over 4-1/2 months. That is on top of his $100,000 salary.

Critics have not suggested the work wasn't done, but some are raising objections to the payments and plan to investigate. Much of the criticism is directed at DuPage County Circuit Clerk Joel Kagann, who ran the center and approved the overtime.

""I find it offensive,'' said state Rep. Mary K. O'Brien, D-Coal City. ""Mr. Kagann originally had an $8 million contract that has now ballooned to $32 million. And now he wants (taxpayers) to front bonus checks to his administrators.''

O'Brien sits on the Legislative Audit Commission, which plans to address the overtime issue at a May 25 meeting in Chicago.

The state signed a $8.5 million contract with Kagann to run the unit and set aside an additional $2.9 million to cover unexpected costs. But since opening in October, the unit consistently has failed to mail out thousands of checks on time and has run way over budget.

The state had to hire an outside firm to update thousands of names and addresses and assign state employees to help overwhelmed county workers.

The state also paid more than $10 million in emergency payments to families struggling without their support payments. In March, the state agreed to spend $1 million to hire the private firm Deloitte & Touche to take over the unit until the state finds a new contractor.

The state says the program will cost $31.4 million through June.

Kagann contended the overtime pay was justified and has asked the state to reimburse DuPage County for it. Public Aid Director Ann Patla is reviewing the request.

""If you had a tornado go through this town and then wanted to pay firemen overtime, would people complain? Of course not,'' Kagann said. ""These people gave up their Thanksgiving, their Christmas, their holidays, and they had the knowledge of the job and worked. They deserved to be compensated.''

Hartman, Kagann's chief deputy, said the 750 hours he was paid for doesn't come close to reflecting what he actually worked.

""I literally was living here in my office for four months, and so were some of the others,'' Hartman said. ""We paid huge personal prices to handle this effort.''

The other administrators included heads of the accounting, criminal traffic and human resources departments, as well as a technical support manager.

Kagann says the unit is smoothly now, with 98 percent of the checks sent out within two days after the unit receives the money.


-- (, April 25, 2000

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