An investigation by the Department of Labor has verified a complaint made by an employee of the Williamsburg County Transit System (WCTS) regarding lost wages. The investigation began in June after Supervisor Tiffany Wright was notified of the complaint. Documents from every transit employee were compiled and handed to the Department of Labor and other agencies. The findings were released August 22.
According to Supervisor Wright, the county was found to be in violation of overtime and wages in excess of over $470,000 over a two-year period. She said the complaints were reported to leadership, "but nothing was ever concluded". Executive Director Michael Burgess has been paced on administrative leave pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.
WCTS has an unassigned fund of 1.2 million, which will be used to pay the back wages. "This process saved the county thousands of dollars in potential litigation," said Wright during her press conference. "If not taking responsibility for our actions, other legal ramifications would have been determined on the county."
According to Wright, the county has not had any oversight over that department. She said the remainder of the money in the fund will be returned to the transit account to help with operational cost and no funds will be removed or placed in the general fund for operations.
Wright said corrective actions have been imposed and training has been conducted with transit administration and staff. Wright also said she will update council as needed. "I hope this serves as a message to all of our departments that we must make sure that we don't find ourselves in a worse or similar situation of his nature," said Wright.
WCTS provides rural public transportation service in the county using Federal Transit Administration Section 5311 funds, State Mass Transit funds and Local funds. The county appropriates $239,000 annually for staffing and payroll.