Hennepin County has investigated 24 employees in its child support services division for alleged misconduct earlier this year, according to a county spokesperson.
Twelve of those employees chose to resign and the fate of the other 12 is pending, county spokeswoman Carolyn Marinan said Wednesday.
Marinan would not say what the alleged misconduct was, citing “data privacy issues.” Several sources told KSTP-TV that the employees were accused of falsifying their time cards, allegedly submitting hours when they were not actually working and failing to show any work during days they were supposed to be working from home.
The alleged misconduct took place between March and June of this year, Marinan said. The county investigation began after complaints were made against those employees.
That investigation is complete, but it could take several months before the county resolves the complaints on the remaining employees, Marinan said.
Hennepin County Commissioners Jan Callison and Debbie Goettel declined to comment on the investigation. Other board members were unable to be reached Wednesday.
“We need to wait and watch the process happen,” Goettel said.
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper responded to the investigation in a statement Wednesday.
“We support counties’ efforts to ensure appropriate use of taxpayer funds,” her statement read. “It’s unfortunate when a few bad actors detract from the important work that dedicated public employees are doing every day.”
The Hennepin County child support division establishes and collects court-ordered payments that noncustodial parents make to those with custody. It also coordinates genetic testing to determine paternity.
The division collected almost $100 million in child support and handled about 49,000 cases last year, Marinan said. The county has a 71 percent collection rate, according to its website.
About 250 people work in the division, and employees are represented by Local 34 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. Representatives for AFSCME Council 5 chose not to comment.
Hennepin County posted job openings for senior child support officers in its LinkedIn page five days ago, asking for applicants to be available for training by the end of November. Those employees earn between $34,058 and $53,695 a year, according to a similar posting on another job site.
Miguel Otárola • 612-673-4753