Using ground as reference when reading voltages is not a good or sound practice. Ground is for unwanted currents. What if the control panel was not grounded properly? Always read across the actual circuit wires. In this case the white neutral to any other terminal. I am glad Joed brought this up. Many electricians do this too. I guess they just do not know any better. Or they are not good at what they do.
well im no electrician but thanks for the tip, ill remember that for here on out.