During the Mexico Beach City Council’s regular meeting in July, city attorney Paul Komarek reported that in 2008, former city clerk Patricia Hutchinson received retirement payments of more than $70,000, money intended to be paid to 19 different retired employees.
The mistake was found in April and had been researched by Komarek before bringing it to the council’s attention. At the encouragement of the council, interim city administrator Marcus Collins filed a claim with Kemper Insurance to compensate the 19 employees still awaiting payouts.
Last week Collins reported that the claim had been turned over to an adjustor and that starting this week he would be receiving weekly updates while the insurance company decided whether or not they would reimburse the city for the funds.
“(The adjustor) will be taking care of business until they reach a final conclusion,” said Collins.
At the July regular meeting city attorney Paul Komarek suggested that the city work with Bay County to open a criminal investigation as well to investigate whether or not the money was mistakenly given to Hutchinson with or without the authorization of the council.
The paperwork for Hutchinson’s payment was signed by former city administrator Chris Hubbard, but it only allotted Hutchinson her share. The insurance company will also decide what to do about the funds dispersed to her.
Collins said it would be up to the insurance company to decide if a criminal investigation was in order.
“We’ve filed the claim and we hope to get the money, get the employees paid and put this to rest as soon as possible,” said Collins.
New city administrator
The search for a new city administrator has ended.
During a special meeting held earlier in the month, the council continued interviews for the vacant city administrator position, vacated by Hubbard in April.
John McInnis filled in as interim for several months and was followed by Collins.
After a second round of interviews, the council selected Mell Smigielski of Illinois. Smigielski will be relocating to the area and will assume his duties on October 1.