MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch, who previously defended the overtime pay of a deputy who clocked 2,613 hours of overtime in 2022, said Thursday morning that the deputy had “cheated the system.” Burch said he investigated and shared his results with the District Attorney’s Office.

A WKRG News 5 investigation earlier this month revealed that Sgt. Daniel Holifield, head of the MCSO vehicle fleet, earned $148,000 in overtime pay in 2022. That investigation came after Holifield was arrested on 13 charges, including first-degree theft of property and ten counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

“I was not correct when I said there is no way to cheat the system,” Burch said in a release. “I launched an investigation into Daniel Holifield’s overtime sheets, and I found there is a way to cheat the system. Daniel Holifield cheated the system.”

MCSO Public Affairs Director said Burch will not make any additional comment about the case and that inquiries will need to go to the District Attorney.

Mobile County Sheriff’s Office overtime pay

MCSO paid more than $6 million in overtime pay last year. The top 18 overtime employees earned almost $1.3 million in overtime pay.

According to MCSO payroll documents, Holifield worked 2,613 hours of overtime. If Holifield took a 2-week vacation, he would have averaged 92 hours a week on the job in the other 50 weeks of 2022. If he never took a day off,  he would have worked, on average, 12.6 hours a day, all 365 days of the year.

WKRG News 5’s Peter Albrecht spoke with Burch earlier this month about overtime pay. Burch told us at the time that no one cheated the system but had already made changes to the overtime system.

“You’re always going to have a number of people who like working and making money,” Burch said earlier this month. “But anytime you have an excess number of overtime hours you want to take a look at it.”

Holifield wasn’t the only MCSO employee to amass more than 2,000 hours of overtime last year. Another sergeant worked almost 2,392 hours of overtime and made about $142,000 in overtime pay.

There were 18 MCSO workers last year who logged more than 1,000 overtime hours, meaning they averaged a minimum of 20 hours of overtime a week. The 18 earned a combined $1.3 million in overtime pay.

Burch, who took office in January, said changes to the overtime system included how, when, and most importantly, to whom workers report their overtime.

“There’s more oversight to the system,” he said at the time.