Yesterday we told you about Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz admitting to breaking the law by falsifying time records to pay primary election employees $15 an hour.
Iowa code grants the responsibility of setting wages to the county board. The Scott County Board did not grant permission for those employees to be paid $15 an hour.
The Iowa Standard talked with Tony Knobbe, the chair of the Scott County Board of Supervisors about the issue.
Knobbe said he plans to dig further into the details of the documents and explore the depth and breadth of it. He wants to focus on the fact that when he asked Moritz if this was the first time she had done this, she said no.
“(She) didn’t offer specifics as to how often or when or any of that kind of stuff,” Knobbe said. “I really want to dig into that. I’m told the dollar amount of the incident or the infraction was about $9,000. Well, so if it occurred before, are we talking a total of 10 or a total of 100 or what’s the deal here?”
His phone has been “ringing off the hook” and he’s heard from people on every side of the issue. There are those who believe something must be done about it and a few others who say it’s no big deal.
“Well, I think it’s a big deal,” Knobbe said. “I can’t gage the mood of the board without talking to them as to their appetite for pushing further. She doesn’t report to us. If something were to be done it would simply be inviting some other law enforcement official to dig into this and investigate. That might be the state auditor, it might be the sheriff, it might be the county attorney. I’m not going to rush this, but I do want to dig further over this next couple of weeks and try to understand the nature and depth of it.”
What is clear is the fact that Moritz decided to break state law by paying primary election employees $15 an hour when she was not authorized to do so. State law makes it clear that setting that wage is left to the county board.
In some instances, Moritz falsified timesheets to the point people were paid for working more than 24 hours in a single day.
Knobbe said essentially some people may work 18 hours a day during the election. If they’re authorized for $10 an hour and things are fudged to make it $15 an hour, it isn’t hard to see where some would go over 24 hours in a day.
He acknowledged this incident is very serious.
“That’s exactly right,” he said. “I don’t know how many times she’s done this before until I dig into it. Somebody who lies about one thing, you have to be careful about what they tell you about other things.”