Springfield, MO

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Sally Payne worked for the city since 2008.
SBJ file
Sally Payne worked for the city since 2008.

Sally Payne resigns from city

Posted online

Sally Payne, the city of Springfield’s director of workforce development, has resigned.

In an interview with Springfield Business Journal, Payne said she voluntarily exited today. She claims she was retaliated against after she questioned a city finance department employee's use of workers' compensation.

"I think it all has to do with me questioning staff time," Payne said. "I think I'm literally being targeted and bullied for asking."

Payne alleged city officials – including City Manager Jason Gage – met with her today and accused her of providing prescription medications to staff and issuing city contracts to friends, who she did not name. Payne denies both of those claims and said city officials did not supply any evidence to support the allegations.

“I think it was just clear retaliation for questioning (the finance employee). I’m not going to get accused of the things I was accused of. That’s my reputation and integrity,” she said. “I don’t think there’s any going back after that.”

Cora Scott, director of public information and civic engagement for the city, confirmed Payne's resignation but declined to comment further.

"That's really all I can say at this point," Scott said.

Payne said she recently questioned city staff about the employee for possible misuse of workers' comp. She said the employee was on workers' comp for weeks but only submitted four sick days to the city, which she considered a red flag. Payne said she was denied documentation to see how the finance department employee – paid through her department – was using their time.

"I guess this is what I get for questioning finance," Payne said, noting she would be looking into her employee rights in the wake of her resignation. "I'm not mad. I'm just really disappointed."

Payne in August 2021 became the city's permanent workforce development director after holding the position on an interim basis for more than 20 months. She succeeded Mary Ann Rojas, who retired in 2019, according to past reporting.

With Payne at the head of workforce development, the city department recently received a $17.5 million federal grant to be used toward industry-led workforce training partnerships, according to past reporting.

Prior to leading workforce development, Payne was the department's assistant director under Rojas.

"I'm proud of the work I've done," Payne said in the interview today. "I worked hard. I'm disappointed that very cruel accusations come out when I question where my grant money is going."


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sounds like its time for an outside auditor to come in... sounds like misuse of funds on the work comp deal highly probable and if thats the case there probably is much more misuse goin on thats not discovered yet

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