Clark Co. worker to go back to work; prosecutor to review - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Suspended Clark Co. worker to go back to work; prosecutor to review time card issue

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Clark Co. Community Corrections executive director Stephen Mason. Clark Co. Community Corrections executive director Stephen Mason.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- The Clark County work release director who was briefly fired, then suspended after questioning an order to alter time cards, will go back to work Friday.

Community Corrections executive director Stephen Mason will return as records of an investigation into his claims goes to Clark County prosecutor Steve Stewart for review.

Mason and others in the community corrections department and those in a now-separate probation department will have to stick to formal, county payroll and personnel policies that apparently were loosely followed, the community corrections board ordered on Wednesday.

It's a story WDRB News reported first earlier this month.

Mason spoke with reporters after the board meeting.

"I've had a strangers come up to me on the street and say they were proud of me for doing the right thing," Mason said.

Mason's bosses on the county community corrections board decided he'll return to work to head community corrections department, which includes the work release program.  In turn that department will be separated from the probation department.  The departments had been combined with the board's oversight.

Mason has a list of changes to make.  He'll have to improve communications skills, schedule diversity training and follow proper personnel rules.

"I believe I can live up to any expectations that they have," Mason said.

Mason's former boss, probation director Henry Ford, who said he misspoke when he fired Mason on June 28, will have similar rules to follow.  Ford did not speak with reporters after the board meeting.

Board member Daniel Moore, a Clark circuit judge, headed the ad hoc board committee that looked into the time card issue.  It also found other, wider-reaching problems, including communications skills between managers and between supervisors and those in their charge.

"There was a sandpaper relationship between a couple of them, and then a couple of them simply have to change their management style," Moore said.

Following rules that specify pay only for hours worked is especially important.

"That is woefully in need of work," Moore said.  "We're certainly going to look at this time keeping issue, and compensation records are going to be tightened up."

Moore said 1.5 to 3 hours of pay are still at issue from the time card complaint, which dates to the last week of June.  The ad hoc committee's findings will now be forwarded to the county prosecutor's office for review.  A decision on whether the hours should be paid is but question still unanswered.

"We have some raw evidence on that came to our committee, so it's up to the prosecutor to evaluate if it rises to criminal charges or not," Moore said.

Clark County has no human resources director to enforce personnel policy for its more than 300 workers.  County commissioners, who have the final say on employee discipline, hirings or firings, will take up that issue Thursday.

"We just can't have people dropped one day for no reason," said commissioner Rick Stephenson, referring to Mason's short-lived firing.

WDRB News July 3 story on reversal of firing, suspension, commission investigation to start:

WDRB News July 2 story on sudden firing of Mason:

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