WRAL Investigates

Discipline questioned in Durham police overtime 'abuse'

Posted October 15, 2009

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— Some Durham police officers are questioning the discipline meted out in the investigation of an officer who received nearly $60,000 in overtime pay in 10 months.

Alesha Robinson-Taylor, who had been on administrative leave since Sept. 30, was fired Thursday for "abuse of overtime and compensatory time claimed," according to an audit by City Manager Thomas Bonfield.

An image from a Durham Police car. Discipline questioned in police overtime 'abuse'

Auditors found that Deputy Chief B.J. Council approved most of the overtime. Council is using accrued leave before her retirement, effective Dec. 31.

"We've got grave concerns about the disparity of treatment there," said Cpt. Andy Miller, who is president of the North Carolina Sheriff-Police Alliance.

Robinson-Taylor, who coordinated off-duty jobs for officers, handled alcohol permits and scheduled towing services, is appealing her termination, her attorney Butch Davis said.

The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating to determine if criminal charges are warranted, and the city is seeking reimbursement from Robinson-Taylor.

Auditors determined that time sheets, phone records and e-mail logs couldn't substantiate the $59,545 in overtime Robinson-Taylor got between last October and July. The overtime was nearly $7,000 more than her annual salary.

The audit found that Chief Jose Lopez dismissed concerns about the excessive overtime when managers raised the issue with him in April.

Miller said those findings could cause trouble for police morale.

"(It) sends a message that if you climb high enough in the police department, you are not going to be held accountable for your actions," he said.

Officials with the Durham chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police said they have no plans to challenge the decisions.

Miller said he is meeting with Bonfield next Tuesday. Beverly Thompson, a spokeswoman for Bonfield, said they won't discuss any personnel matters.

Lopez declined to comment, as did Thompson, citing personnel matters.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • jackaroo2 Oct 15, 2009

    Durham politics and crime continues to be the embarrassment of our otherwise civilized State.

  • oldschooltarheel Oct 15, 2009

    Good to know what those tax dollars are going for. Taxation in Durham is ridiculous - a home in downtown Seattle worth 50% more is taxed 20% less - that's in a state with no sales tax & a real city for goodness sakes! Bet a review of most public services in Durham would reveal similar misuses of those tax dollars - 8 guys out to repair a public work - 1 guy working & seven watching, gross overtime payments, diversion of public properties for private use (vehicles, materials, computers,...), inflated expenses for dubious "educational meetings" & "conferences"... bet that list would go on & on. Tip of the nepotistic iceberg, this situation is. Sadly, it would seem Durham government is lousy with it. All to often co-workers know what's going on & do not call foul because they are afraid of losing their own little piece of "the pie."

  • PrivateCitizeninRTP Oct 15, 2009

    What people don't realize is that BJ Council was a Deputy Chief. That means that she answers to no one but the Chief. If this was Graham, NC were there are 20 officers, you expect the chief to know everything thats going going on. However, in a department were there are 550 officers in a mid-size city like Durham, the Chief cannot micro-manage everything. He has to rely on others to manage the day-to-day operations of the department. In this instance, BJ Council was one of those people. BJ has been "running" the DPD with an iron fist for years therefore, her clique could do no wrong and they were never questioned. This is purely a case of an isolated individual getting greedy and the 2nd highest ranking officer in the department approving it. You can believe that the majority of the other officers agree that Council and Taylor should be fired, prosecuted criminally, and sued civilly.

  • 2beornot2be Oct 15, 2009

    You don't make these kinds of statements without being an insider!

  • LocalBoy Oct 15, 2009

    2beornot2be, bold statements, do you have proof?

  • FromClayton Oct 15, 2009

    all i know is if my employees rack up overtime it is on my head. I'm suppose to manage their schedules better than that.

  • ncmickey Oct 15, 2009

    I love Durham..... but I hope there is more to the story. If not, firing/resignations shouldnt be over! All goverment is corrupt... and it just makes me sick.

  • Professor Oct 15, 2009

    It's Durham what do you expect? Crooked town,

    You are absolutely right. Remember the Duke Lacross issues. lol

  • happymom Oct 15, 2009

    "Under this premise how are government salaried workers eligible for overtime? That's an abuse of tax dollars.

    Not every government employee that's salaried is eligible for overtime. However, employees that fall into the category of "SPA" (subject to the state personnel act) are eligible. I don't understand it either, but I know that's the policy.

    The entire SPA thing drives me nuts. I moved here from Texas, and there you fire a gov't employee for not doing his job. It's almost impossible here, thanks to the SPA protections.

    BTW, I hope the superiors of this woman don't get off without some serious hand slaps. They should have been minding the store a little better.

  • Grandpeople Oct 15, 2009

    It's Durham what do you expect? Crooked town, DA and all that jazz. Now she will have to find another job but she should have enough to live on until she does. Fire the whole lot of them but all you would get is another crooker bunch.