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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mismanagement of Russellville funds alleged

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Allegations of dereliction of duty have been leveled against the former Russellville Clerk-Treasurer.

A consultant hired by the Russellville Town Council to investigate town paperwork, including utility records, kept by former clerk Janet Kay Smith reported the mismanagement.

Linda Blocher reported to the council that during a two-year period in 2006 and 2007, Smith was general derelict in the performance of her duties, and she found "irregularities across the board" with Smith's record-keeping.

Blocher reported she found Smith had repeatedly refused both written and verbal requests to produce documentation in a timely manner when requested by members of the council. Among the most "disturbing" findings were that Medicare and state and federal taxes had been unpaid for "some time."

Blocher was quick to point out, however, that Smith's situation does not involve criminal misappropriation, nor is there any evidence that money is missing. The failure to pay the taxes will result in monetary penalties that could be charged to Smith.

Blocher recommended the council pursue action against Smith, who was bonded, at the advice of Town Attorney Elizabeth South, who was recently contracted by the council.

The council took no action on the recommendation at its Wednesday meeting.

In other business:

* Saw that 35 utility disconnect letters, which had been newly-drafted by South, were sent to residents. Nineteen customers responded with payment in full and 12 responded with a partial payment. Four customers were disconnected.

* Heard Diane Gorrell reported that Friends of the Park is in the final cut for grant consideration from the Putnam County Community Foundation.

* Agreed to contact the Putnam County Commissioners about grant opportunities for new sidewalks and assistance with the demolition of the old hotel in town.

* Learned the county budget workshop has set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 11.

* Noted that the filter needs to be replaced at the water plant. Initial estimates for this replacement are in the $65,000 range.

* Approved the purchase of a back-up handgun for off-duty use by the town marshal.

The Russellville Town Council meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the town hall.

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What other town is left in Putnam County. This county has probably set a record as far as misuse of funds are concerned.

-- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Thu, Feb 21, 2008, at 7:10 AM

I have to agree with bondsman & UhOhNoNo. Why would the town have to purchase a gun for off duty purposes? What's wrong with the one that he should be carrying on duty? If something happened, would that make the town responsible for purchasing the gun in the first place? Think people! It's Russellville. For off duty purposes, he should be paying for his own gun. Maybe the prosecutor doesn't have anything else to do right now and he could investigate that....then let it drop like everything else.

-- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Thu, Feb 21, 2008, at 9:25 AM

I am not sure about this, but I believe the Russellville Town Marshal happens to be with the Putnam County Sheriff Dept. When he is off duty with them, he shouldn't be using county property to shoot the criminals in Russellville--that is why they are buying him a gun. Makes good sense to me!

-- Posted by interested party on Thu, Feb 21, 2008, at 3:01 PM

From one small town to another....It sounds to me like the town of Russellville is very lucky to have someone like this Linda Blocher on their side. Kudos to the board and and town council for recognizing there were issues and addressing them BEFORE it became misappropriation of funds.

-- Posted by michfan on Fri, Feb 22, 2008, at 1:15 PM

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