Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said Friday deficiencies in oversight of the Wilson County Judicial Commisson have been corrected in the wake of a Tennessee Comptroller’s Office investigation that found the chief judicial commissioner, who retired in August, received thousands of dollars in pay for time that he did not work.
“We hate that this happened,” Hutto said. “We have taken care of our side — the time sheets and the accountability piece.”
Comptroller’s office investigators found that Randy Hankins received at least $17,603 in pay by falsely reporting 640 hours of time he claimed to have worked, according to the investigative report.
From Jan. 1, 2018, to Oct. 6, 2018, Hankins often failed to show up for work or worked fewer hours than he reported. Investigators reviewed video surveillance and keyless access records and found that during a 160-day period that year, Hankins “failed to show up for work at all at least 52 days.”
Hankins also worked hours at a local bowling alley that overlapped with his shifts at the Judicial Commission Office. During one two-week period in July 2018, he was present only 18 hours at the Judicial Commission Office but he was paid his full salary as though he had worked 80 hours. Notably, during this same two-week period, Hankins was paid for working 77 hours at the local bowling alley.
Hankins submitted his retirement with Wilson County effective Aug. 25. Upon retirement, he forfeited 380 hours of vacation leave and 2,688 hours of sick leave valued at $86,569, according to the comptroller’s office.
Attempts to locate Hankins for comment were unsuccessful. A phone number listed for him was disconnected and the person who answered the phone at Pro Bowl West said he was retired.
The investigative report said that Hankins told investigators that he was absent “noticeable hours” from work from August through October 2018 to take care of family obligations. He also said there were times when he would leave the office for an our or two to run personal errands.
“Initially, the Chief Commissioner told investigators that most of his work was done in the office, but he later stated that he would do some of his work outside of the office, such as approving the staff schedule and answering questions over the phone,” the report said. “Further, investigators were unable to determine what judicial commissioner work, if any, the Chief Commissioner was conducting off site.”
The report said that county officials “failed to provide adequate oversight” of the chief commissioner’s hours and the chief commissioner “failed to ensure” the other judicial commissioners properly reported their time, although the report does not mention any problems with the other commissioners work.
Hutto said both those deficiencies have been addressed. The county finance director will sign off on the chief commissioners time sheets, and the chief commissioner will sign off on commissioners’ time sheets. And, he said, the county commission’s judicial committee is in the process of replacing Hankins.
The investigative report has been forwarded to the 15th Judicial District Attorney General Tom Thompson.
Judicial commissioners issue arrest and search warrants upon findings of probable cause, appoint attorneys for indigent defendants, approve bonds and set court appearance dates, sign misdemeanor citations and administer orders of protection, among other duties.