- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Former D.C. Public Schools employee Robin Keys resigned in June 2004, but that didn’t stop the District from cutting her regular paychecks.

For months after her resignation, officials kept paying Miss Keys. And by the time they discovered the mistake, the extra paychecks totaled more than $10,000, court records show.

Now the District is suing Miss Keys to force her to repay the money.

Attorneys for the District filed the lawsuit last week in D.C. Superior Court, demanding Miss Keys pay the District $10,931 plus legal fees.

Also last week, the District’s Office of the Attorney General filed a similar lawsuit against Randolph S. Chase Jr., a former employee at the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

Mr. Chase resigned in April 2002 with what was supposed to be a severance of $7,609, records show. Instead, the District was far more generous, overpaying him by more than $30,000, officials said.

Traci Hughes, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, said the District’s decision to file a lawsuit was “a last resort.”

“The city has made every attempt to recoup the funds by contacting them by letter and in person requesting they return the money,” she said. “Of course, since they have not responded we have no other option but to sue them civilly.”

Neither Mr. Chase nor Miss Keys could be reached for comment yesterday. And it’s not clear based on court filings what sorts of job titles they held while employed by the District.

The Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) declined to comment on the specifics of either case, but a spokeswoman said such mistakes are rare.

“The instances of overpayments are very few relative to the hundreds of thousands of employee payment transactions the District conducts in a year,” said spokeswoman MaryAnn Young. “When an overpayment is identified, the appropriate authorities, including the OCFO, investigate and seek recovery. Recovery of funds is often voluntary.”

According to D.C. payroll records, Miss Keys had a salary of $52,996 in fiscal 2002, while Mr. Chase earned $98,926.

The lawsuit against Mr. Chase, also filed in D.C. Superior Court, states city officials also have been unable to get him to return the money.

“The defendant has communicated with the District on the matter but has refused to return any of the funds,” the city’s complaint states.

Investigators with the D.C. Office of the Inspector General last year visited Miss Keys at her home, where she indicated she would return the overpaid funds, the city’s lawsuit states.

Pay slip-ups aren’t completely unheard of in the District. In May, the Inspector General issued a report stating the city needed to do a better job stopping pension payments to deceased recipients.

The audit found the District had continued making monthly payments to 10 pension holders after they had died, resulting in overpayments by more than $40,000.

The report noted that once the errors were discovered, city officials were able to recoup all of the overpayments.

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