NORTH VERNON, Ind. (WDRB) -- Is it a mistake or a miscommunication? Confusion over the amount of a pay raise brings sudden deductions, anger and county officials pointing fingers over who's responsible.

The 22 people who work at the Jennings County Jail each received what they believed to be a $3,000 a year pay raise as of January 1. But all or part of it disappeared from their paychecks February 26. They want to know why.

"It made me very mad. I count on that money. It's my kids' money," said Sgt. Becca Napier.

Napier says her job in the jail brings surprises everyday. But she did not expect the surprise deduction from her most recent paycheck.

"I was missing the raise and plus some. And that's when we all became alarmed that something was wrong," Napier said.

Napier supports five children, and the money from a pay raise helped to buy a car.  
County leaders say she and other corrections officers must pay back part of their raises, prorated, over the rest of the year.

They received a standard two percent raise like other county workers, but it appears any overage was paid by mistake. The $3,000 figure would represent more than two percent for all of the workers.

"There had been a mistake made in the office down where they make the paychecks, and they had given them a raise that was not the correct amount," said county council president Howard Malcomb. "I think it will have to be the two percent (to be paid) or it will make all the others mad."

County auditor Janice Ramey said off camera that an improper salary figure appeared in the county budget prepared by a private financial adviser. Ramey added that an assistant told two jail commanders workers would have the overages deducted. The commanders denied receiving any word.

"I do believe they approved it. The state approved it. And now they're taking it back," said jail commander, Maj. Sam Beard. "All we need is the raise we deserve."

"There are several questions we can't get an answer to," Napier said.

It's not yet clear who authorized the extra raise and who should have questioned it before the auditor's office cut four payrolls of paychecks with the extra money. 

County leaders meet with the financial adviser Monday to decide what to do, if anything. They expect a full house of corrections officers for a full county council meeting Tuesday.

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