BATESVILLE, Ark – Two former Batesville City employees say they were cheated out of money they believe was owed to them.
In November, the Batesville City Council voted to use funds from the American Rescue Plan to cut hazard paychecks for employees.
In a memo sent to us by City Attorney Tim Meitzen, the City Council voted to pay up to $3,500 to city employees who worked 1,000 hours in 2020.
Rex Brightwell and William Wells say they each worked 1,000 hours and did not receive checks.
“If they cared like they said they did whenever we retired, they would make this up to us,” said Brightwell.
Brightwell and Wells both retired in October 2021, a few weeks before hazard pay was passed.
Meitzen says the checks were only offered to current employees and Brightwell and Wells were no longer current.
“We feel cheated,” said Brightwell.
We reached out to Meitzen for comment on the matter. He sent us back a memo saying the Batesville City Council did not vote to include former employees in the payments because “There is no mechanism by which the City Clerk can make payroll/W2 payments to someone who is no longer an employee with the City.”
Wells and Brightwell say had they had known about the checks before retirement, plans would have changed.
“I would have stayed what it would have taken to not have to be going through what we are now,” said Wells.
Both say between the do they make up 50 years’ worth of service for the City and are asking now they be recognized for it.
“Just do the right thing, treat people the way you want to be treated,” said Wells.
The City Attorney says the City received funds from the American Rescue Plan back in July 2021. He says the rules surrounding the funds are new and the council’s decision was based on advice received from the Arkansas Municipal League.