Jeffery Jones, the city’s mayor, wrote he cashed out $17,394 worth of vacation time based on a precedence set by the previous administration in a letter addressed to residents and the governing body on Tuesday.
However, the mayor has said he will return the money he took after realizing the money he cashed out was “improper.” The mayor wrote, “I am in the process of repaying, in full, $17,394.73 received for unused vacation time due to me.”
Jones wrote that at the time when he cashed out the vacation time, he was assured that such thing was “proper.” The mayor wrote, “At that time I accepted the funds, I was assured that this payment to me was proper, as precedence was set when former mayors received such payments.”
In recent months Jose Torres, the former two-term mayor, has been in hot waters over similar payments he received while in office. The former mayor had cashed out two separate checks for vacation and sick time. One for Approximately $74,000 and the other amounting to little over $3,000.
Jones made the revelation public after newspapers and the state began digging through offline checks to figure out whether other similar payments were issued to elected officials.
Since then, the City Council has passed an ordinance ensuring that elected officials never receive such payments in the future.
However, that came late, according to the letter, because Jones had used the former mayor as a “precedence” to cash out his vacation time. Jones wrote that he will return the entire amount. “I have stepped up to rectify this matter as quickly as I could gather financial resources,” read the letter.
Both Jones and Torres are running in the upcoming mayoral election.