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MU's Holliday excels in 'overtime'

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More than 3,300 state employees received overtime pay of more than $5,000 in the 2011-12 budget year, topped by Marshall University head football coach Doc Holliday, who was listed with $425,000 in overtime pay, a legislative audit released Monday shows.

But a Marshall spokesman said Holliday and others from the Huntington school are on the list because of a quirk in the state's payroll codes.

Holliday was one of six state employees listed as receiving overtime pay in excess of $100,000. The others included Marshall head basketball coach Tom Herrion, listed with $160,300 in overtime pay, and three physicians and an administrator at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital.

Also, the audit listed Marshall University President Stephen Kopp with the seventh-highest amount of overtime for the year, at $65,000.

Matt Turner, Marshall University chief of staff, said the matter is an accounting issue, with portions of the salaries for Holliday, Herrion and Kopp falling under payment code 171, the state payroll code for overtime pay.

"That wouldn't be overtime pay for the coaches or the president," Turner said. "Unfortunately, that's the way it's showing up. They did not get overtime pay."

In a follow-up statement, Turner noted, "Marshall University, in working with the state Auditor's Office, determined that in order for our payroll systems to share information, this was the best code to use for overtime as well as extra help or supplemental pay. This '171' EPICS code is used for a variety of payments that includes overtime, as well as supplemental lump-sum pay items for 'regular employees' and compensation for temporary employees. So any pay above state-funded pay to Doc Holliday, for instance, would be placed under this code."

The legislative audit also found that the Division of Highways had 31 employees who received overtime pay in excess of $25,000. Legislative auditor Aaron Allred said DOH historically has hired engineers at below-market salaries, but with guaranteed overtime built in.

"We think if Highways needs to pay engineers $80,000 a year, they should pay them $80,000, not $60,000 plus overtime," Allred told the legislative Post Audits Committee.

Auditors said the audit raises several issues, including whether certain agencies are using guaranteed overtime pay to inflate salaries, whether job titles that should be salaried positions without overtime are improperly classified as hourly positions, and whether the 3,346 employees are underpaying their Public Employee Insurance Agency premiums.

Unlike most health insurance plans, PEIA premiums and deductibles are on sliding scales, based on salary.

"We see people making $25,000 in overtime year after year, and it's not reflected in their PEIA premium," said Allred.

He said it is unfair for a employee with a salary of $60,000 and no overtime to pay more in premiums than a DOH engineer with a base salary of $55,000 and $25,000 in guaranteed overtime.

Auditors ran a random sample of 28 employees who had received more than $25,000 in overtime pay and found that if the overtime pay had been counted toward their salaries they would have paid an additional $40,332 in total PEIA premiums and $6,575 in deductibles for the year.

To conduct the audit, legislative auditors ran a search of all state employee compensation under payment code 171 -- the code for overtime pay -- totaling $5,000 or more for the year.

Auditors found 3,346 state employees from 64 state agencies who had received $5,000 or more of overtime pay for the year.

That included 3,299 employees with between $5,000 and $24,999.99 of overtime, 33 employees between $25,000 and $34,999.99, four employees between $35,000 and $49,999.99, four employees between $50,000 and $69,999.99, five employees between $100,000 and $199,999.99 and one employee in excess of $400,000.

Auditors also found inconsistencies with the five state colleges showing high amounts of overtime pay through what was listed as code 171 pay.

According to the audit, Marshall officials stated that code 171 is used for pay for extra job duties as well as overtime pay, while Fairmont State, Pierpont Community and Technical College, Shepherd University and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College all used the 171 code exclusively or primarily for stipends paid to faculty and staff.

Afterward, House Finance Chairman Harry Keith White, D-Mingo, said he wants to set up an informal committee, with representatives from PEIA, the Department of Administration and the Division of Personnel, to look into issues raised by Monday's audit.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.


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