The long-time Storm Lake police department office manager has been fired and charged with theft in connection with missing city funds. Public safety director Mark Prosser says 43-year-old Lee Martin of Storm Lake was arrested Tuesday in connection with an investigation that began earlier this month.

On December second, Prosser was notified of possible irregularities in funds transferred from the public safety office to city hall. On December sixth, Martin was placed on administrative leave and Prosser ordered an investigation.

Police allege Martin had been taking cash from deposits transferred to city hall totaling over $12,000 in the past 12 months, and also altered receipts. Additional investigation is underway into previous years of cash transfers from Martin’s office to city hall. Martin worked for the public safety department the past 21 years.

Prosser said the very person charged with insuring the department’s books were balanced and funds were appropriately transferred to city hall is the one who allegedly was circumventing the system. He termed it a very disappointing case of violation of the public’s trust. Prosser says additional safeguards have been put into place to insure that similar incidents are prevented.

Tuesday afternoon, Martin was charged with ongoing criminal conduct,and first-degree theft. Martin was jailed on a $35,000 bond and her employment with the city was terminated.

By Joel Hermann, KAYL, Storm Lake