Newspaper article The Canadian Press

University of Regina Overpaid 2 Staff $380,000; Didn't Tell Province for a Year

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

University of Regina Overpaid 2 Staff $380,000; Didn't Tell Province for a Year

Article excerpt

Regina university overpaid 2 staff $380,000

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REGINA - The University of Regina says it knew a year ago that two employees had been overpaid nearly $380,000, but the school's administration didn't tell the Saskatchewan government or the provincial auditor until this month when the story came out in the media.

University president Vianne Timmons said Wednesday that the faculty of education approved the overtime payments for two IT staff members. It was an effort to keep the workers in a competitive market, she said.

The workers were only authorized to get the overtime for one year.

But they kept claiming unearned overtime and getting it for 11 years until another employee tipped off the administration.

"Payments arrangements like this were not and are not common practice at the University of Regina and steps have been taken to ensure that a situation like this cannot and will not take place at our university again," said Timmons.

The president said the payments were discovered in September 2012 and immediately halted.

There was no need to tell the Ministry of Advanced Education "because we had dealt with it, we felt, to a satisfaction level at the university level through our board...and the board was confident that we'd put mitigation strategies in and dealt with this," said Timmons.

Advanced Education Minister Rob Norris called the situation "unacceptable."

Norris had sent a letter to the university Sept. 17 demanding answers. He appeared unhappy with the response Wednesday.

"I have a number of questions that remain," he said. "Those questions all continue to be framed around accountability and I think that's really important on issues of post-secondary education. These dollars are very, very precious.

"The outstanding questions relate to the recovery of dollars. I've asked Justice to inform me of what options I may have."

Norris also said he had heard different reports over the last 10 days of the amounts involved.

"To see it, in black and white, as everyone else has, I'm very troubled," he said. …

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