WRAL Investigates

Durham investigating $60K in overtime for officer

Posted September 11, 2009
Updated September 12, 2009

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— Durham officials have launched an investigation into nearly $60,000 in overtime paid to a police officer in the last 10 months, City Manager Tom Bonfield said Friday.

A review of Durham Police Department payroll records by WRAL News shows Alesha Robinson-Taylor was paid $59,545 from last October through July. The overtime is more than her $52,665 annual salary.

Taylor, who has worked for the department for 12 years, coordinates off-duty jobs for officers, handles alcohol permits and schedules towing services. She couldn't be reached for comment.

"The city of Durham is taking this matter very seriously," Bonfield said.

An image from a Durham Police car. Durham investigates officer overtime

Robinson-Taylor's job may require work from home, but the amount of overtime is extremely unusual, he said.

For example, she made about $8,000 in overtime last December, according to city data. The 246 hours of overtime amounts to about eight hours for each day of that month.

Bonfield said he first learned about the situation last week in an e-mail from a Durham resident. After going through police payroll data, he asked city auditors to investigate.

"We will correct, for sure, whatever problems are determined as a result of this," he said, adding that he believes it's an isolated case.

WRAL News reviewed overtime records for the rest of the police department and found no similar cases in recent months.

City Audit Services reports directly to Bonfield. The police department isn't involved in the investigation and referred all questions to Bonfield.

Auditors are trying to determine if the overtime hours were approved and documented or if they were entered into the system illegally.

"Whether it's tough times or good times, there is no place for fraud, abuse, waste, or mismanagement in local government, in the city of Durham's government or any place where we are entrusted with the public's money," Bonfield said.

He briefed council members about the situation this week.

"I appreciate his promptness in having a team look at this," City Councilman Mike Woodard said. "We need to make sure that we are using our resources wisely, including salary."

The audit could be completed and turned over to Bonfield by next week.


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  • Lead by Example Sep 14, 2009

    I'm glad that the investigation is from the city's auditors, instead of an internal investigation by the department.

    I hope that if wrongdoing by the officer is proven true, that no mercy is spared. Falsification of overtime hours is stealing from the taxpayer. I hope that the officer is forced to pay back any money that should not have been paid to her, that she gets fired from her job, and criminally charged is sufficient evidence exists.

    This type of thing is a slap in the face to fellow officers and even more so to all Durham taxpayers.

    Also, the supervisor that "signed-off" for the overtime should be investigated and held accountable as well.

  • PrivateCitizeninRTP Sep 14, 2009

    I had heard about this a while back and was curious if it would ever come to light. I love that they broke down the overtime to show that she worked....strike that... that she billed the City for an ADDITIONAL 8 HOURS OF WORK PER DAY!. That means, on average, a 16 hour day for every workday of the month and 8 hours for each Saturday and Sunday. I can't wait to see how that is explained.