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Earle council wants answers about missing court money


Earle council wants answers about missing court money

Court clerk grilled about procedure, $ 3,000 in fine funds go undeposited Earle’s court clerk faced some tough questions from the city council after several thousand dollars turned up missing.

Councilman Kenneth Cross asked court clerk Donna Selvy how she failed to catch $3,000 in court fines which were collected but never deposited and are still unaccounted for.

The money was collected by a former city employee, who has since been fired by Mayor Carolyn Jones.

Although Selvy had nothing to do with the actual theft, Cross wanted to know how it happened and why there were no checks and balances to ensure the money was properly deposited.

“It says in our ordinance that the court clerk is responsible for the money collected from the district court,” Cross said. “So I would like to know and get some answers as to what happened? Who dropped the ball? Why did it happen? And how can we correct the problem?”

Selvy said although she is the court clerk, in the past the actual duties of collecting court fines have been delegated to the dispatcher.

“I’m the court clerk. Is it my responsibility to monitor that the money is getting deposited? Yes,” Selvy said.

“But the city did, as you all know, decide to employ another person who did the as the court clerk/dispatcher.

As the court clerk there are certain duties I do handle. But the other person handles the money. The reason is so that in a situation like this we don’t have too many hands in the pot.”

According to Selvy, the missing money was collected on April 12 when district court was in session.

Selvy said she did question that em- ployee about the deposit, but did not get a clear answer about where the money was despite repeated inquiries.

“I was on her properly at the time,” Selvy said. “I kept saying where is the money? Where is the deposit? Where is the receipt book? Why haven’t you made a deposit? Where is it? It’s not like I was laying down on the job. I was given the run around. I was getting lies. “

Selvy said the employee did not enter the money from that day into the computer and covered it up by making a later deposit during the week which did not include the money collected from the actual court date.

The receipt book also went missing but Selvy said she finally was able to track down what had happened.

“There was a deposit. But it was a later deposit. It wasn’t that one,” Selvy said. “When she was terminated I said ‘where is your receipt book?’ She said, ‘it’s here.’ Well, it never was there. So I finally tracked it down.”

Selvy, who came to work for the city in January, said the problems did not start under her watch. Past collections have always been lax.

“This has been the history of Earle,” Selvy said. “It’s not something that started with me. We’ve had people in the past who have paid. I said, ‘did you get a receipt?’ They said, ‘no.’ We’ve had problems with that since I came to work here. A lot of people said ‘I took it to the house.’ ‘I gave it to them on the street.’ I tell people, I don’t care if it is the Pope. You get a receipt. We’ve had accusations of that. But never proof until this matter came up.”

Selvy assured Cross that they now have checks in place for all deposits.

“What we have in place, the girl who does the job, I check her,” Selvy said.

“When she takes money from the court, I check it.

When she initials it, I initial it. If you look at her receipt book, every receipt she initials, I initial. But in the past it was never done like that. It’s not something that started with me. I caught it.

I’m taking the brunt of it because I am the chief clerk. So it is my responsibility. I hate for it to come out like this because it is going to cause pandemonium in the community with everybody saying their money got stolen. But that’s what happened.”

Jones stood by Selvy and said a lot of things are lax and haven’t been done properly over the years in Earle. She is satisfied the problem has been corrected.

“That’s right,” Jones said.

“It might be mass pandemonium. But it can’t be any worse than it is now.”

By Mark Randall

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