Cuyahoga County says IT officer worth big salary and signing bonus, despite living in Cincinnati

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - James Hay began work as Cuyahoga County's Deputy Chief Information Officer in March.

He had signed a contract in February accepting the job, and a $13,500 moving expense allowance.

Pretty quickly, the IT official began submitting requests for reimbursement, so many in fact, that a cover sheet had a hold put on it by a reviewer.

In just two weeks, he had asked for $2,500.

Reasonable, who knows? That is when it was called to our attention that Hay hadn't moved and still lives at his home in Cincinnati.

His expense reports show many receipts for meals and gas commuting from Cincinnati.

An Ultimate Air Shuttle flight, too.

He even submitted a bill for $610 rent at Sphere Apartments in Cleveland.

Douglas Dykes, who screens candidates for county jobs, was asked: "Were these paid?"

"From what I understand, no they were not paid," he said.

But it appeared that some of the expenses submitted were well within reason. Dykes replied "Well, that's why we did the two payments of the $7,500 each."

Dykes says there was an issue with line-by-line expense submissions by Hay so the county signed a revised contract allowing the original $13,500 moving expense to be paid as a signing bonus.

The name of the payment changed, but now no receipts or explanation is needed as to how it's spent.

You may ask: why two payments of $7,500?

The math is puzzling because that equals $15,000 not the $13,500 agreed on.

"There's a piece of tax that we didn't want him to have to pay or assume and so as a result we wanted to honor the ($13,500) we originally talked about," said Dykes.

Dykes acknowledges that Hay lives only part-time in Cleveland and was asked "Is there any concern by the executive or anyone else that somebody that's not moving to Cleveland and not seeing the fiber of the town that sort of thing working from Cincinnati."

He said no, adding that the IT department has turned around under Hay.

He's a guy who lists 13 jobs in the past 30 or so years.

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