An ongoing feud between the Lycoming County Commissioners and Controller Krista Rogers has progressed to an official complaint filed against Rogers that would require her to continue paying bills and employee payroll checks.
The commissioner’s presented the complaint during their Tuesday meeting and it also was filed in court on Tuesday. The controller fired back denying the allegations against her and claiming an ongoing misuse of county power and a possible “shadow government” forming behind closed doors.
The primary purpose of the complaint requests that the county court order Rogers to continue to sign payroll documents and check payments, which they claim she has refused to do.
“We have indications that the controller might withhold signature on certain checks that go out and the action we are making today is to ensure that certain checks go out,” according to a statement by the commissioners during the Tuesday meeting.
Rogers condemned the complaint, calling it a “gross misrepresentation of the facts,” and denying that she has ever said she will not sign payroll checks.
“I always have, and will continue to pay accounts payable and payroll,” Rogers said. “This is not about training or alleged mistakes they claim were made, it is an abuse of office and has been a conspiracy to subvert the law since December of 2019.”
According to the complaint, the county controller proposed that her office take over the payroll management of the county roughly two years ago. To facilitate the new duties, four members of the county fiscal services department were also transferred to Roger’s department.
The complaint alleges that over the past two years the Controller has not fulfilled her duties as was initially proposed. The complaint lays out a list of errors including failure to pay employees, failure to file reports on time and a failure to pay union employees at their negotiated union rates.
“The county requests an order from the court; (1) directing her to fulfill her statutory functions; (2) directing her to execute payroll checks for payroll that have been properly processed; (3) to prevent the Controller from arbitrarily and capriciously attempting to use her office to interfere with the functions of County government to include the issuance of payroll checks; and (4) awarding such other relief as is deemed necessary and proper under the circumstances to ensure the Controller properly performed this ministerial function,” the complaint states.
“This is not a power grab,” said Commissioner Scott Metzger. “We have no intentions of taking power from any department … it’s vital that we move things back to make sure that our financial obligations are taken care of.”
The commissioners voted on Tuesday, April 13, to reorganize four employees from the Controller’s office back to the fiscal department, recently renamed the Office of Budget and Finance.
Rogers condemned the move as illegal according to state law, saying that the county has no authority to remove employees from the department of another elected official.
“I have, and will always, stand up and fight for the taxpayers of Lycoming County to make sure the Commissioners do not create a shadow government where they can spend money with no checks and balances,” Rogers said.