Sheriff: Report that found questionable overtime in Hoke County 'not accurate'
Posted June 21
Raeford, N.C. — An internal review of Hoke County Sheriff's Office and Hoke County Detention Center employees reveals more than $700,000 of questionable overtime, but the sheriff is fighting back.
Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said no one should be surprised by the overtime hours his officers are working, and that his team is under attack.
"They are talking about looking for other jobs," Peterkin said.
Peterkin said an internal review that found overtime pay irregularities in his department is inaccurate and unfair.
"You are going to find out they worked those hours. They did not steal this money," he said.
The investigation was conducted by the Cherry Bekaert accounting firm. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is conducting its own separate investigation.
The review found that 29 jailers and five sheriff's deputies should be thoroughly scrutinized by the SBI to determine if the irregular overtime was justified and authorized.
A statement from the county said issues with timesheets are "a strong indicator that certain employees in the sheriff's office and detention center may have colluded to falsify their overtime."
Peterkin admits that the overtime levels are high, but that his department is understaffed, making large amounts of overtime inevitable.
"Sometimes deputies have to work in other areas so we have to fill in the gap, overtime," Peterkin said.
The report also shows overtime levels increased in years when more employees were added.
"That report was not accurate," Peterkin said.
Peterkin said the investigation was initially launched to look into payroll problems in county management and has now expanded to his office.
"It puts a bad stain on the men and women who are risking their lives for this community," he said.
Results of the review will be passed onto the SBI. Officials would not say when the investigation may wrap up.