County attorney says no records found to support Williams retirement claim

Jefferson County Attorney Terry Wynne said Monday night that the county has found no records to indicate that J.Y. Williams was ever a county employee, despite a claim to that effect from the state employees retirement board.

Speaking during the monthly meeting of the Quorum Court, Wynne said County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson was able to locate five boxes of old payroll records but none for Williams.

For the last few months, Jefferson County Judge Dutch King has mentioned Williams and said the retirement board has sent the county a claim for more than $140,000 they say is owed to Williams. The board was reportedly willing to settle for less than that if payment was made by May 31.

Wynne said the only documentation the retirement board had was Social Security records listing Williams as a Jefferson County employee, when he in fact worked for the Jefferson County Economic Development Commission, and Wynne said county officials have located a W-2 for Williams indicating that.

“That sort of disproves their belief that he was ever a county employee,” Wynne said.

He said the information would be forwarded to the retirement board for their review but added “it looks pretty clear.”

On another subject, King said he planned to issue an emergency order for a new chiller for the courthouse. King said the current chiller constantly breaks down.

Scott Systems has worked on the chiller, which provides heating and air conditioning for the building, since January and King said the county has received a bill for $20,000 for those repairs. If a new one is ordered, the company is willing to drop that charge.

“The one we have now is leaking oil, it’s overheating and is half the size of what we need,” King said, adding that it may take “a couple of months” to get the replacement in.

Asked by Justice of the Peace Conley Byrd how the county would pay for the new chiller, King said “we would have to finance it like we did the road department equipment.” In April, the Quorum Court approved two ordinances allowing the county to borrow money to purchased used road equipment.

During Monday’s regular meeting of the county’s legislative body, a proposed appropriation ordinance that would transfer $26,933 in the 2013 budget for the county environmental officer was approved without dissent. The ordinance shifts $500 from the line item for Tires and Tubes to the line item for Clothing and Uniforms, and $2,100 from the line item labeled Fuel, Oil and Lubricants to the line item Labeled General Supplies. No additional funds were involved in this ordinance.

Also approved was a $4,500 supplemental appropriation from the Treasurer’s Automation Fund to the line item labeled Computer Services. County Treasurer Elizabeth Rinchuso said in a letter to King and Justice of the Peace Herman Ginger, chairman of the court’s Finance Committee, that the funds are needed to pay the difference in the $10,000 that is in her budget for computer services and the actual costs. She also said she asks for the same appropriation each year.

A resolution re-appointing Lou Taylor to a three-year term on the Jefferson County Equalization Board was also approved. His new term will expire May 31, 2016.