Platte County Assessor under investigation for employee bonuses - KCTV5

Platte County Assessor under investigation for employee bonuses

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PLATTE CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The Platte County prosecutor is investigating Assessor David Christian for handing out $11,000 in bonuses.

Christian defends his action, but he has personally paid the county back. The bonuses to the 15 employees ranged from $400 to $2,000.

"It was my understanding that I had the authority," Christian says about the bonuses to his employees. "It's kind of an obscure provision in the (Missouri) Constitution that has been interpreted to say you can't give them a bonus."

But Platte County Presiding Commissioner Jason Brown said he warned Christian not to hand out the bonuses, telling him they were illegal.

"If bonuses are going to be handed out, there's a list, a criteria and there's a process that you cannot just do it after the fact and make up your own criteria," Brown said.

Employees received the bonuses because they took on extra duties, Christian said. He said this created additional stress and responsibilities. He said they did great work while being without a manager.

"We needed to recognize their efforts on behalf of the county," Christian said.

But it's not as simple as that, Brown said.

"It's taxpayer money. The money does not belong to the assessor," he said. "He's handing out money in his office as a bonus for people doing their job. I mean I question the entire thing."

Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zhand is investigating Christian's actions.

Zhand can do nothing, give Christian a slap on the wrist or recommend his removal from office.

Brown is a Republican. Christian is a Democrat appointed to the post in May by Gov. Jay Nixon.

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