Ex-mental health center director ordered to repay money

LONG BEACH — State Auditor Stacey Pickering has ordered the former director of the South Mississippi Regional Center in Long Beach repay the state $424,000 for improper payments to employees.

The Sun Herald reports the auditor has also turned the case over to the district attorney.

Last year, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health and State Auditor’s Office launched an inquiry into overtime and other pay at the center, which is a state-run inpatient facility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Pickering said former director Dr. Pam Baker used “call back pay” to increase workers’ salaries without requiring the overtime work to be performed.

An auditor’s spokeswoman said the employees were unaware they were receiving improper payments.

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