DATE: January 12, 2011

State Auditor Issues Demand Against
Former Panola County Administrator

(Jackson, Miss.) Following an investigation, State Auditor Stacey Pickering has issued a demand in the amount of $292,772.37 against Michael David Chandler, former county administrator of Panola County. This demand represents disallowable overtime pay paid by the County to Chandler; retirement contributions and benefits and associated interest due on wages paid to Chandler while serving as county administrator from July 2007 through September 2008; retirement benefits received in error for 15 months when Chandler was not eligible to receive retirement benefits; retirement benefits received in error due to disallowed overtime and falsified leave statements being certified to the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS); and investigative costs.

“After a thorough investigation, special agents from the State Auditor’s Office determined that David Chandler received overtime pay as an exempt employee,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “He submitted overtime pay as a part of the monthly docket presented to and voted on by the Panola County Board of Supervisors. In addition to his overtime, Chandler also submitted the necessary paperwork to retire from Panola County and begin receiving retirement benefits from PERS, but he was immediately hired back in the same position at the same salary the following day after he retired. Retired government employees are not allowed to work full-time at a governmental entity while receiving retirement benefits from PERS. In addition, state law requires government employees to wait no less than 45 days following their official retirement date before beginning employment with a governmental entity.”

Chandler served as the County Administrator for Panola County from 1987 – 2008.

Financial Breakdown:
Salary Overpayment (Overtime): $84,296.19
Retirement Benefits Overpayment: $120,865.42
Employee Retirement Contributions and Interest Due to PERS: $5,622.00
Interest: $63,564.94
Investigative Costs: $18,423.52
Total: $292,772.37

Pickering Press