NORTH VERNON, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Twenty-two employees at the Jennings County Jail said they received an eight percent pay raise at the beginning of the year and now they may have to pay all of that money back.
"That money had been taken away,” Major Sam Beard, Jennings County Jail said.
“It was like a thief in the night,” said Jason Allen, a jail employee. “I came in and it was gone out of my paycheck.”
County officials voted to give every county employee a two percent raise in August. They claim the council did not intend to give any employees an eight percent raise because the budget cannot afford such salaries.
“It’s a sad situation. I wish it hadn’t happened,” Howard Malcolmb, a councilman said.
County officials stopped giving the raise once they received the state-approved budget for the county, and realized the mistake. Jennings County Jail employees had bought cars, took out loans, and one even bought a house assuming they could make the payments.
"There was no warning,” Allen said.
The lack of warning is a violation of Indiana law. The state’s code allows an employer to take back money after they accidentally overpay, but requires employees receive a two week notice. None of the 22 said they received a notice.
Council members decided in a meeting Tuesday night the jail employees will only get a two percent raise, and will have to return the money. How this happened, or how the employees will pay the money back, is still up for debate.
"I have never seen nothing like this in my 33 year career," Beard said.