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Your Nebraska News Update - More Tales of the Strange

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Your Nebraska News Update - More Tales of the Strange

Postby knapplc » Thu May 31, 2007 11:53 am

Apparently there is a janitor at the University of Nebraska who is in some hot water, we find out today. It seems that last year in July he got a raise, but due to a clerical error he was overpaid, to the tune of $16,000+ over the last ten months.

This guy is getting treated like a criminal, but why? Is it because he kept money he was not entitled to? That would seem fair – it could be construed that he was guilty of theft by knowingly keeping money he was not entitled to. OR, is he being treated this way because he’s “just a janitor.”

Read this and then we’ll move on:

Employee got paid double, university says

A custodian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was overpaid $16,704 between July and April, but reportedly kept quiet about it until confronted by the school, according to court papers.

No decision has been made by the university on whether to turn over investigative reports on the incident to the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office, Capt. Carl Oestmann of the university police department said Wednesday. According to search warrant papers filed Tuesday in Lancaster County District Court, the custodian, 30, received a pay raise in July. But a budget department error caused his wage to be computed at exactly double the correct amount.

As a result, he was overpaid between July 20 and April 27 of this year, according to the court papers.

The director of Operations Analysis discovered the error earlier this month. When she asked the employee if he had noticed anything unusual about his paychecks, he reportedly said that he had, and that he was “glad to see the additional wages,” the search warrant indicated.

Oestmann said he could not comment on the custodian’s employment status. The spokesman for Human Resources at the university could not be reached Wednesday.

The employee could be charged with theft of property, lost, mislaid or delivered by mistake, according to the search warrant.

Oestmann said the man could also make restitution as part of an agreement with Human Resources.


So the guy got the money, he wasn’t entitled to it, and it’s possible that it’s against the law for him to have kept it, hence the possible legal action against him.

Here’s why this is so odd. About two months ago it came to light that the City of Lincoln had overpaid not one but BOTH of our recent mayoral candidates for work they did for the city. Both were overpaid about $10,000. Just like this janitor, neither man came forth with the revelation on their own. Both had to be confronted about it by the local paper, the JournalStar. Once both were made aware of it, they repaid the overage. NOT before.

Here’s an editorial discussing both overpayments:

Because Chris Beutler was accidentally overpaid about $10,000 for the work he did raising money for the city Parks Department, maybe it was only fair that his mayoral opponent, City Councilman Ken Svoboda, also get overpaid for maintaining landscaping for the city.

And so he did. Svoboda said he was recently overpaid about $9,500 for median maintenance work done by his family-owned company, Ray’s Lawn and Home Care.

Ray’s has been phasing out its city work because Svoboda is running for mayor, and the overpayment came when the company was paid for work on some of its final contracts. Svoboda said he caught the error and notified city officials last week. After verifying the overpayment, he said he put a check in the mail. The city received Svoboda’s check Monday.

This month, while compiling Beutler’s pay information for the Journal Star, city officials discovered Beutler received two extra paychecks worth about $10,000 total during the nearly seven years he worked for the city as an independent contractor. He received extra payments in 2005 and late last year.

Beutler reimbursed the city after city officials informed him of the overpayment.

City Finance Director Don Herz said he was “obviously not very happy that we’re dealing with this again.” Of the more than 100,000 payments processed by the city annually, worth more than $300 million, he said normally only two or three overpayments to vendors are discovered.

“I’m concerned now,” he said. “I’m not too happy with two of these occurring in a relatively short amount of time.”

He plans to put together an action plan that will include training, payment procedures and forensic analysis of payments to vendors over the past few years to look for problems and make sure there haven’t been other double payments.

He has not figured out how Svoboda’s overpayment happened.



So I ask you – if it’s “theft of property, lost, mislaid or delivered by mistake” for the janitor to have received this overpayment, and he is facing possible criminal charges (and for certain he’s already had a search warrant served against him), why haven’t the same charges been filed against our new mayor and his opponent in the May, 2007 election?



I think I’m going to go into politics. Apparently there are laws which do not apply to you as a politician, or even a political candidate. :-[ :-[ :-[


:-t :-t
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Postby Art Vandelay » Thu May 31, 2007 12:51 pm

I think you are dead-on. It's not as if this is the first--or worst--incident of a classist double-standard. Another possibility may be that the "victims" are two separate entities. Maybe the city didn't think legal action was warranted, while the University did.
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Postby sportsaddict » Thu May 31, 2007 12:52 pm

Hey, he's just a janitor, they can take advantage of him all they want and he doesn't have the power to stop them, so why not go ahead and try to screw him :-t
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Postby Dan Lambskin » Thu May 31, 2007 1:23 pm

he should have to pay it back...it's not his...but as far as the double standard :-t

i got double paid for an expense report once (about $100)...i debated keeping it but figured it wasnt worth getting into trouble over if they ever found it (of course payroll thanked me and said they never would have found it)

this happens alot more than you would expect...my wife works for a university in their grants department...her whole job is basically dedicated to collecting overpayments/working out settlements
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Postby BitterDodgerFan » Thu May 31, 2007 1:46 pm

such discrepancies disgust me. :-P :-P :-P
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Postby ironman » Thu May 31, 2007 2:06 pm

Office Space wrote:We simply fixed the glitch, so he won't be getting a paycheck anymore.
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Postby sportsaddict » Thu May 31, 2007 2:40 pm

ironman wrote:
Office Space wrote:We simply fixed the glitch, so he won't be getting a paycheck anymore.


Not to turn this into a quote fest, but...

We went ahead and...fixed...the...glitch. We like to avoid confrontations whenever possible.


Great movie ;-D
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Postby Fireball Express » Thu May 31, 2007 5:45 pm

You ask why charges haven't been filed against the two mayoral canidates.
First off, one realized the error on his owned then cut a check. The other, once notified of the error, repaid the proper amount. The error was recified.
Meanwhile, I didn't read that the janitor repaid or made arrangements to repay the overpayment. The school then should file charges to recoup their loss.
So in short charges weren't filed b/c they paid back the money.
I don't think this has anything to do with social class.


Recently a school down here went through something similar but on a much larger scale.
http://social.moldova.org/stiri/eng/44013/
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