Caledonia County Sheriff, Dean Shatney gave bonuses totaling over $400,000 to himself

Leading up to his departure as Caledonia County Sheriff, Dean Shatney gave bonuses totaling over $400,000 to himself and department staff. Details of an audit completed late last year revealed Shatney authorized bonus payments to himself and 15 employees in September that totaled $401,600. Bonuses ranged from payouts of $1,359 to over $41 thousand dollars and in some cases the bonus amounts surpassed the employees’ total annual salaries. Shatney served as sheriff for 12 years. He decided last year that he wouldn’t seek re-election. Long-time sheriff’s deputy James Hemond was elected in November to replace him. It appears that one of Shatney’s departing acts was to issue the bonuses. The action was flagged by the South Burlington audit firm McSoley McCoy & Co. as a “significant deficiency” in best accounting practices. The firm was contracted by the state auditor’s office. It was determined no violation was made because there is no policy in place to prevent a sheriff from giving bonuses to himself or staff members to such an exorbitant level. There is, however, a directive in place in the Vermont Sheriffs’ Association Uniform Accounting Manual to maintain a bonus policy. The manual states, “Each department should have a policy covering the payment of bonuses. At a minimum, this policy should include the criteria for who is eligible for bonuses, when the bonuses can be paid, and how the bonus amount is determined.” In response to the auditor’s flagging the bonus payments as an accounting deffienciency, Sheriff Shatney promised in a statement that the department would have a policy to control the bonus payment process by June of this year. Incoming Sheriff Hemond also signed the statement.