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Reality Check: Prichard city employees say they were shortchanged on paychecks

(WPMI) Reality Check: Prichard city employees say their paychecks were shortchanged
(WPMI) Reality Check: Prichard city employees say their paychecks were shortchanged

Payday problems! Some Prichard city employees say they their checks were short. This is the latest financial problem to plague the city in the past few months.

An anonymous employee told NBC 15 News the paycheck he received Friday was several hundred dollars short. Two workers tell NBC 15 News overtime has not been paid for several months.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office has confirmed there was a problem with payroll.

Tensions were high in Prichard's city council meeting the day before payday.

The city council decided not to renew the contract of finance director Patricia Scott.

That comes after two other former city employees Kim Green and James Blackman allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"What we gonna do is we gonna shut down the daily operations of the city when it comes to check writing, right? Because there is a process even in that. It's not just signing the check," said Mayor Jimmy Gardner.

One long term problem is who can sign checks in the city's name - everything from paychecks to big ticket items.

"So what you saying tonight that bills aren't going to be paid and neither who represent the signees are going to be able to sign, so the city shut down until such time that process takes place," said Mayor Gardner.

Finance Director Scott and Mayor Jimmy Gardner are authorized and Gardner says he doesn't want that responsibility any more.

"So you're saying to take you into consideration to removing you from signing checks?" asked Councilman Lorenzo Martin.

"Absolutely," said Mayor Gardner.

While the debate continues over who will handle Prichard's tax money, city councilwoman Ossia Edwards says she wants to make sure city workers are paid the money they earn.

"My other thing I am concerned about is employees and making sure everything goes smoothly with them as far as their salaries," she said.

The Mayor's office sent the following statement to NBC 15:

During the 09 January 2020 meeting, the Mayor reiterated his commitment to working with the City Council to improve financial oversight of the city’s financial resources. Because the City Council did not have an attorney present, some of the topics addressed during the City Council meeting may have to be revisited in an Executive Session before any decisions are discussed publicly.
The City Council addressed the Mayor’s check-signing authority during the meeting. When this topic was discussed, the Mayor reminded the City Council that the City Council has the authority to “remove” his check signing authority, if that was City Council’s desire. The Mayor stressed two additional points during the meeting: a) the individual members of the City Council are expected to follow the same procedures as members of the administration; and, b) if the City Council creates requirements without understanding the unintended consequences of their actions, the City Council can literally shut down the Administration’s ability to pay the city’s bills.

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#TheBiggYowAndJ45LiveMorningShow allowed NBC 15 to use their video of the council meeting.