Former Lane County administrator Liane Richardson was fired after an investigation stemming from changes she made to her pay, and now questions arise over the pay stubs of County Counsel Stephen Dingle, who has been intertwined with the Richardson controversy.
Dingle oversaw the outside investigation of Richardson that led to her dismissal, and many county citizens questioned even that level of involvement, given he had been part of an earlier uproar over $20,000 pay raises that had been proposed for Richardson as well as for Dingle. An email from Richardson to the County Commission, after her unauthorized pay change was questioned, says the county finance manager had decided to consult with the county counsel over her salary change.
Pay stubs that were released to the media in response to public records requests involving the Richardson case appear to show a discrepancy with Dingle’s pay. The county has yet to release materials related to Richardson and the outside investigation. The criminal investigation has been turned over to Marion County, where Dingle was once a prosecutor and Human Resources Director Madilyn Zike previously worked.
A pay stub from Jan. 11, 2013 shows Dingle accruing 14.462 hours in year-to-date (YTD) time management — pay with leave. On the stub from Jan. 25, it shows Dingle accrued 28.924 hours YTD, an increase of 14.462 over the pay period.
Looking at the ongoing pay stubs, it appears that Dingle is getting 14.462 hours each pay period (every two weeks). But according to his contract from Jan. 8, 2013, “County counsel accrues time management as other non-represented county employees with the same years of service accrue such time,” and according to the time management section of Lane County’s Administrative Procedures Manual (APM), it would take 19 years to accrue 14.462 hours per pay period. Dingle was hired in January 2012.
The pay stubs state that Dingle makes $70.19 an hour. This means that $1,015 worth of hours is being added to Dingle’s paychecks each pay period instead of the $583.14 that fewer than two years of county service qualifies him for, an increase of more than $400 per paycheck.
County spokesperson Anne Marie Levis says Dingle’s original contract when he was hired as senior assistant county counsel allowed for the extra hours because he had worked at other counties and in government. She adds that the APM “doesn’t specifically say that it has to be Lane County service.” The APM language reads “Time management will accrue whenever an employee is in a paid status with the county.”
The Dec. 17, 2012 memo from District Attorney Alex Gardner that calls for promoting Dingle from senior assistant to county counsel says, “The appointment directly relates to the County’s Values, especially Integrity, Respect, Pursuit of Excellence, and Stewardship.”