- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

MONROE, La. (AP) - The trials of former Monroe city engineer Sinyale Morrison and her former employee Ricardo Nance have been moved to June 24.

The News-Star reports (http://tnsne.ws/1euR8KJ ) both trials had been scheduled to begin Monday at the Ouachita Parish Courthouse.

Prosecutor Neil Johnson said the trials were continued because Morrison’s attorney Charles Kincade is working another trial and unavailable.

Morrison and Nance were indicted last year on one count each of public payroll fraud.

Morrison is accused of hiring, promoting and maintaining an unqualified person - Nance - for a position of public employment for which he was “grossly unqualified,” namely as survey party chief, from May 2009 through August 2011; and authorizing overtime pay for Nance for which there was no justification.

District Attorney Jerry Jones requested state police investigate allegations of payroll fraud in the city’s engineering department in late 2011 after Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera found improprieties while reviewing the city’s engineering department’s payroll practices.

Purpera’s findings indicated Morrison might have violated state laws when she hired Nance and paid him for services he may not have provided.

Nance, who was not qualified for the position to which he was promoted, also might have violated state law if he didn’t work the overtime hours for which he was paid, according to the audit report.

The audit was prepared in response to issues raised by former city human resources director Mike Rhymes in 2010.

He said Nance received preferential treatment with regard to work requirements, overtime pay and job promotion.

Morrison resigned as city engineer in November 2012.

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Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com

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