Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wayne County Commissioners want to get to the bottom of the severance scandal
By Julie Banovic
WXYZ-TV Ch 7 (ABC), Detroit (MI)
DETROIT - Wayne County Commissioners will be asking tough questions at Thursday’s special meeting to get to the bottom of a scandalous severance payout.
Former Wayne County Economic Development Director Turkia Mullin received the payout back in September and she pledged to return the money after Action News Investigators first exposed the story.
Commission Chair Gary Woronchak created the special committee on Appointee Compensation. “We want to know from the treasurer, who is the keeper of the funds of the county, exactly how a $200,000 dollar payment could go out to an individual and no one seemed to know it,” said Commission Chair Gary Woronchak.
Apparently, it’s pretty easy. According to the Charter of Wayne County, the Treasurer’s Office just approves what the Chief Financial Officer authorizes, and then makes sure there is enough money in the bank to make the payment.
“Her office would’ve authorized it. And it was an electronic transfer,” said David Szymanski.
Wayne County Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski is referring to CFO Carla Sledge and her office.
“What kind of red flags go up? Who has to approve it? Who has to override the system?” asked Commissioner Woronchak.
There was no system override and no red flag. The payout was made on a regular payroll day, a day when the county does six to seven million dollars in deposits.
“So a $100,000 dollar fluctuation, a $200,000 dollar fluctuation wouldn’t be significant in that regard,” said Szymanski. After taxes were taken out, Mullin’s payout netted around $134,000 dollars. That’s money that Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano told Action News Investigators had been returned. But the reality is; the money has not been paid back yet.
“To the best of my knowledge this office has received no money back.”
Recently, Ficano’s office came out and admitted that no, the money had not been paid back yet.
The Deputy Treasurer tells Action News that Ficano’s office and the office of the CFO are hammering out a deadline to have the money returned to the county.