Thursday, October 20, 2016
Emails Surface Concerning Patrick Lawton's Knowledge of His "Mistaken" Car Allowance
Exactly how unaware was Patrick Lawton that he was receiving a car allowance while he was driving a city-issued car?
In A Car Plus Car Allowance=A Mistake and a Payback I wrote the following commentary about an article in the Commercial Appeal, which stated in reference to Mr. Lawton having both a city-issued car and a car allowance simultaneously--"Lawton says the $250 bi-weekly car allowance was not listed separately from the salary on his pay stub and that he didn't notice it."
According to the Commercial Appeal, while Patrick Lawton had a city issued car, he also had a $6600 dollar a year car allowance. It was discovered by Ralph Gabb in October of 2014. This had gone on for six whole years. Lawton says he wasn't aware of it because it wasn't broken out separately on his check stub and he didn't notice it. I do know that an error like this that goes on for six years is indicative of an accounting system with very poor financial controls. My financial experience would lead me to believe that there may be other shoes to drop. This, of course, is contrary to the notion that some people have that this is a "well run" city. I am open minded and I cannot come to a specific conclusion about the two people without knowing more facts. Let us hope that our leadership insists on getting this investigated! Coincidentally, the Open Records Act requests were beginning to come in at the time. The payments were stopped, and then Lawton returned the overpayment to the city to the tune of almost $40,000 in January of 2015. At this point I can say that I am surprised at Mr. Lawton's professed unawareness of the details of his own compensation.
And just how unaware was Mr. Lawton of his double dipping? As it turns out, an email string has surfaced through the open records requests. At the very time that he was first receiving the use of a car issued by the city, he engaged in the following email exchange. From Patrick Lawton to Kristen Geiger April 01, 2008 I have been in conversation with the Mayor about my compensation and benefits. I will begin to use a city vehicle again. I know we just purchased admin Cars for Police and I want to transfer one of the new Impalas when they come in for my use. I ran this by the Chief and he said they can manage with the use of a drug car. I wanted you to know this because it will impact admins Budget so far as vehicle allocations. Also I have started to change the budget letter and will try to get to you by next week. From Kristen Geiger to Patrick Lawton April 2, 2008 No problem, Are you sure we don't need to include another car for FY09? Also, do I remove the auto allowance? From Patrick Lawton to Kristen Geiger April 2, 2008 Not in Admin-but check with Chief Hall--Don't take the allowance out. Read this exchange and judge for yourself whether Mr. Lawton was, as he told the Commercial appeal, unaware that he was receiving a car allowance while he simultaneously was driving a city issued vehicle. Links to Past Shining a Light on Germantown Posts
Posted by Polly at 3:51 PM