Park district reimbursed for excessive pay to summertime worker

A former Bainbridge parks employee has given back money he never earned as a senior park aide in 2011.

The Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District was faulted by the State Auditor's Office in June for shoddy payroll practices after auditors discovered a summertime employee had been paid for 65 hours of work he did not do. The payments were approved by the employee's father, who worked as a department supervisor for the park district.

Terry Lande, executive director of the park district, said the employee who had been overpaid has reimbursed the district.

The district's attorney had earlier sent a letter demanding restitution, and Lande said the former employee has sent a check for approximately $4,500 to Bainbridge park officials to resolve the overpayment.

State auditors had earlier asked the park district to seek reimbursement for the overpayment of approximately 65 hours of work, which totaled $2,261, plus an additional $2,250 to cover the cost of the investigation.

The overpayment came to light during the state's audit of the Bainbridge parks system for the years 2010 through 2011.

Auditors also said their review found many other time sheets for the employee were missing, and they noted $19,134 in unsupported pay made by the park services department supervisor to his son from 2007 through 2010 that could not be traced to time sheets. That was in addition to the 65.5 hours in pay the son received that was above what was reported on his time sheets during 2011.

Auditors also identified another $14,806 in unsupported payments to other district employees where time sheets were missing.

The park district revamped its payroll policies after the problems were found. The parks supervisor who had overpaid his son was placed on leave in January and later fired.

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