Former Teton County and Prosecuting Attorney Steve Weichman says he wasn’t compensated for his last week in office.
In a claim for wages filed in February with the Labor Standards office of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Weichman states he worked until Jan. 7, 2019, but his payments from Teton County stopped on Dec. 31, 2018.
“County asserts that my last day of term and salary was 12-31-18 because they do not know how to pay me for my last week,” Weichman wrote in the claim. “Not only do I lose $1.6K, but I also lose the extra week of work for retirement calculation.”
At a $100,000 annual salary, Weichman’s disputed paycheck comes to $1,643.84. But he states it’s about more than that.
“I can’t process my retirement because of the dispute about date of retirement,” Weichman wrote on the wage claim.
In a memo obtained by the News&Guide under the Wyoming Public Records Act, Teton County Director of Human Resources Julianne Fries states the county paid Weichman everything that Wyoming law requires it to pay.
Fries also disputes when Weichman’s last day was.
“Claimant, Stephen Weichman, retired as an elected official at the end of the calendar year 2018,” Fries wrote in the memo. “He was present on the job through Jan. 4, 2019. At 8:30 a.m., Jan. 7, 2019, a new elected official was sworn into office as the new county and prosecuting attorney.”
Fries said Wyoming law requires Teton County to pay salaries of county officers in equal monthly installments.
“The timing of the first payment, by statute, is January of their initial term in office,” Fries wrote. “Thus the last payment of each annual year is December. No payments are permitted by Wyoming law for the month of January of a county official leaving office.”
Weichman served 29 years in the county attorney’s office before retiring. He served five terms elected to the top office.
Weichman was reached by phone for this article, but he said he could not comment. Records show Weichman appealed Teton County’s denial of his wage claim and the issue is set to be argued at a hearing.
Former Hot Springs County Prosecutor Jerry Williams left office at the same time as Weichman and said he was compensated for his last week of work.
“It’s bullshit,” Williams said. “Do they not believe you pay someone for the days they work?”
Williams said his last week in office was one of his busiest and if he hadn’t shown up there wouldn’t have been anyone to prosecute cases.
“I had 10 to 15 cases that week,” Williams said. “We would have had no-shows and no one to appear for arraignments. I filed charges in felony cases. Defendants have to see a magistrate within 48 hours. It would have been a wreck here.”
Records show Weichman was at work between Jan. 1 and Jan. 7.
On Jan. 2 he appeared in Teton County District Court and asked the court to revoke Xavier Dyess’ probation in a criminal matter and send him back to prison.
On Jan. 4 his peers threw him a farewell party in the Teton County District Court’s courtroom.
“I can’t believe they wouldn’t pay him,” Williams said. “The time he put in there, he’s one of the longest-sitting county attorneys in Wyoming.”
Williams served 12 years as Hot Spring County prosecutor. He said if Weichman had not shown up for work the first week of January, he could have been subjected to a malpractice claim.
“He could have lost his license,” Williams said. “In public service sometimes you work for less, but you don’t expect to work for free.”
Williams said Teton County will probably spend more money fighting Weichman on the wage claim rather than just cutting him the $1,600 check.
“Who thinks it’s cost effective to fight it?” Williams asked.
Fries maintains in her memo that it is illegal to pay Weichman more than his yearly $100,000 salary.
“Mr. Weichman was fully compensated as per Wyoming Statute,” she wrote. “Mr. Weichman is requesting funds for the month of January that are unlawful and would compensate him in excess of $100,000 annual salary.”
Fries said that Weichman “has in the past alluded to violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act” but that “elected officials are excluded from the Fair Labor Standards Act.”
The Fair Labor Standards Act is not mentioned on the claim for wages document that Weichman filed with the state.
Teton County Clerk Sherry Daigle said this is the first time in 25 years she has dealt with this issue.
“We’ve always paid elected officials through four years,” she told the News&Guide.
Daigle said none of the other outgoing Teton County elected officials was paid past Dec. 31.
But according to meeting records, commissioners, councilors and outgoing Sheriff Jim Whalen were not physically at work past Dec. 31, 2018.
Daigle said Weichman was sworn in for his last term on Jan. 4, 2015, and was paid for the entire month of January.
A hearing on the issue was set for May 8 but has since been postponed.
Attorney Paul D’Amours is handling the case for Teton County. He did not return calls for comment.
Hearing officer attorney Deborah Baumer also did not return calls or emails requesting comment.