Former DOT Financial Officer Speaks Out About Overpayments
Posted August 21, 2003
RALEIGH, N.C. — The DOT's chief financial officer tried to keep overpayments to 14,000 employees quiet. Wayne Stallings was forced to resign Wednesday, but he said he has no regrets about the situation.
Stallings was in charge of paychecks for thousands of DOT employees. Now, he has a lot of time to walk his dog Wilson.
"The mistake I made in this case was that I simply didn't communicate it up the line in a timely manner," he said.
Stallings admits he did nothing to correct salary overpayments of almost $2 million to DOT employees.
"I decided that it was unfair to the employees to take the money back from them," he said.
Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett initially would not accept Stallings' resignation, but that changed when Gov. Mike Easley said he did not like Stallings' description of the whole affair as "sort of a cover-up."
"That was an unfortunate use of terms because there was no attempt to really cover it up, but at the same time, I have to admit that I didn't do anything to publicize it," Stallings said.
Stallings claims he was looking out for what he said are underpaid civil servants. Tippett and Easley said Stallings had to go, but Stallings said he understood and said both men did what they had to do. Stallings said he has no regrets and he walks away from his job with his head held high.
Even though he no longer works for the DOT, Stallings himself owes the state $364 in overpayments. Most workers owe somewhere between $60 and $100.
The state is looking at a couple of different scenarios to get the money back. The options include taking the money out of a bonus due in October, payroll deductions -- either one time payment or over a few months, giving up a vacation day or even working extra hours.