Treasurer wants cameras in office

Published 9:19 am Friday, July 27, 2012

Sheriff’s investigation into possible theft goes to prosecutor


Two days after an investigation into an alleged theft in his office was revealed, County Treasurer Stephen Burcham has asked for his office to be outfitted with security cameras.

On Tuesday Sheriff Jeff Lawless confirmed that his office has been looking into the possible theft by a treasurer’s office employee. The sheriff said the amount allegedly taken was at least $2,000 and expects to have his report in the prosecutor by today.

Email newsletter signup

At the regular Thursday county commission meeting Burcham made his request for the cameras.

“There appears to be a theft of $2,000,” Burcham said. “That was caught very quickly by my staff. It is not something that has been going on for a long time. Our software came across it very quickly.”

Now Burcham wants a security camera installed at the outside counter to his office where property owners pay their taxes and a second camera placed inside the main office.

“We handle more money than a lot of other agencies and don’t have appropriate security cameras,” he said.

The treasurer estimates the cameras would cost between $6,000 to $8,000.

“It would alleviate some questions,” he said. … if some people know they are recorded.”

The treasurer’s office takes in on average close to $10 million in property taxes twice a year, in March and July. Right now the office has collected $9.58 million from the second half taxes, compared with $9.97 million received there this time last year.

Second half taxes continue to be counted.

“Hopefully we will come in very closely,” Burcham said.

Commissioner Bill Pratt said it was his understanding that the theft had been going on for a lengthy period of time. Burcham responded that he would not comment on that since the sheriff’s investigation is ongoing.

He did say the person under investigation has been on sick leave for a period of time.

Pratt and Commission President Les Boggs agreed not to act on the request until a security review was made of the treasurer’s office. Commissioner Freddie Hayes is on vacation.

“To what (security) feels is appropriate,” Boggs said.

This is the second time in the past five years that there has been a theft investigation at the treasurer’s office. In 2008, former employee Rae-Lynn Robinson admitted to taking more than $25,000. Robinson repaid the funds and did not serve any time in jail.

In other action the commissioners:

• Received a request by Cindy Anderson of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization to name a labor compliance officer with the requirement that person be a member of local government;

• Received a request from Mike Boster, director of the emergency management agency, for a preliminary damage assessment on the impact of the June 29 windstorm;

• Promoted Sharleen Hemminger from part-time to full-time paramedic;

• Accepted the resignation of Kristina Waddle as a social service worker;

• Appointed Ironton attorney Scott Evans, former ODOT garage superintendent Cecil Townsend and Jim Sites to the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board;

• Received the weekly dog warden’s report where 13 dogs were sold; two were redeemed by their owners; and one was destroyed. There were dogs in custody that week.