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Judge: County wrong to take back $130K it overpaid jailers

April 11, 2019

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — A judge says Benton County was wrong to automatically deduct money from 85 jail officers’ paychecks who were overpaid three years ago.

The Tri-City Herald reports Benton County Superior Court Judge Sam Swanberg ruled this week that the county can’t just take the $130,000 back from the employees without first negotiating with their union.

Swanberg upheld a March 2018 decision by the Public Employee Relations Commission that Benton County must refund the money it deducted from paychecks — with interest — and negotiate repayment terms with the union.

Barring an appeal, Swanberg’s ruling ends a battle over Benton County’s attempts to recover money it accidentally paid to jail workers in 2016 because of a computer software error.

County officials declined to comment.

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Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com