Wilton hits Pearce over OT in treasurer’s office, Pearce hits back

State Treasurer Beth Pearce today defended her office against allegations of “mismanagement” after a records request showed that one deputy had clocked at least 1,000 hours of overtime in each of the past three years.

Deputy Director of Retirement Operations Laurie Lanphear logged 1,132 hours of overtime in fiscal year 2012 alone, boosting her base salary of $58,219 by an additional $31,684, according to records acquired by Republican challenger Wendy Wilton.

Lanphear’s overtime pay was nearly double the next highest recipient of overtime in the treasurer’s office, and Wilton seized on the number as evidence of poor oversight by the first-term Democratic incumbent.

“Regardless of the reason, having an employee work 1,000 hours beyond the 2,080 work hours in any given calendar year reflects poor management,” Wilton said in a written statement.

She noted that Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding earlier this year issued a government-wide memo urging department heads to keep overtime to a minimum, and that a state labor contract advises supervisors to distribute overtime as equitably as possible.

“Pearce’s style presents undue risk and an internal control problem,” Wilton said. “This should be a grave concern to Vermont taxpayers and state officials.”

Wilton obviously is looking to seize on the overtime controversy that continues to brew in the wake of the arrest of a former state police officer charged with juicing hours on his time card.

But in a competing release issued later in the afternoon, the Pearce camp shot back, saying Lanphear was “performing a full time job while also covering for previously cut positions, thereby saving taxpayer dollars.”

The Democratic incumbent’s campaign manager said Pearce’s “prudent management” has led the office to operate under-budget over the past two years, returning more than $500,000 to the general fund.

“We call on Wendy Wilton to apologize for the false assertion against Treasurer Pearce,” Emerson said. “We also ask that she publicly apologize to the hardworking Vermont state employees that have gone above and beyond to perform their necessary services to our state no matter the circumstance.”