Sheriff Accused of Padding Her Household Income
(PA) – Former Sheriff Carolyn Welsh, who prefers to go by the name “Bunny,” is being investigated for funneling $67,000 to her live-in lover. Sheriff Welsh has had a longtime relationship with Lt. Harry McKinney. According to the Inquirer.com regarding comments made by County Controller Reif,
“McKinney was considered an entry-level employee by payroll standards, and was eligible to accrue overtime. Despite this, Reif said, McKinney had been given administrative-level duties, overseeing the sheriff’s K-9 unit and having other members of the department report to him. Such duties should have made him a salaried employee unable to collect overtime, she said.”
For those who don’t know, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets out guidelines for exempt and non-exempt employees. Being an exempt employee means you do not qualify for overtime payment. One of the things listed to determine if an employee is exempt is administrative level duties. By having payroll treat him as an entry level employee, but giving him the authority I’m sure he felt he should have when his lover was the sheriff, they were trying to have the best of both worlds and were very possibly committing a crime.
According to DailyLocal.com,
“The filing alleges that McKinney regularly submitted overtime requests for hours he spent caring for the dogs he owns, in violation of the office’s policy. The requests were normally for about 10 hours per week, but sometimes as high as 23 hours for one day.”
Lt. McKinney received over $67,000 in overtime pay, during a 3-year period, that would have directly benefited Sheriff Welsh’s household and also increased the amount going into McKinney’s retirement account, increasing his future retirement payments.
Probe of K-9 Unit Uncovers Misuse of Funds
Sheriff Welsh gave her lover, Lt. Harry McKinney, command over the K-9 Unit, which is facing its own criminal allegations. Apparently the K-9 Unit has been acting as a charity, soliciting funds and not paying taxes for at least nine years, but they didn’t register as a non-profit until February and didn’t get approved until July.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, County Controller Reif found quite a few questionable expenditures.
“Included in that accounting was $7,000 paid out in reimbursements to credit cards in Welsh’s name. Those three cards, which “appeared to be personal credit cards,” were paid directly from funds in one of the unit’s accounts, according to the report.
Reif’s office found no evidence of an authorization process for paying credit card debt. Instead, the records appeared to indicate that a lieutenant in the sheriff’s office had “unchecked control and discretion of how and when funds were spent,” the report states.”
It appears that Sheriff Welsh and Lt. McKinney had a pretty extensive racket going on at the Chester County Sheriff’s Office. Not only does it appear that Sheriff Welsh was paying her lover overtime when he shouldn’t have been getting it, but he in turn appears to have been paying off her personal credit cards, and paying for hotels and expensive meals, out of donated funds.
New Chester County Sheriff
Sheriff Welsh decided not to run for re-election. The position was won by Fredda Maddox. Sheriff Maddox had run on cleaning up the Sheriff’s Office and she was serious. Her first moves were to inform Lt. Harry McKinney that his contract would not be renewed, yup, she fired him, but she didn’t stop there. She also terminated the contract of the attorney that the Sheriff’s Office had hired to fight the probe into the K-9 Unit.
The investigation into the possible misuse of government and charitable funds had been passed to the District Attorney’s Office but the D.A. felt there was a conflict of interest since he had donated to the K-9 charitable fund. He forwarded on the investigation to the Attorney General.