State Auditor Mary Mosiman says her office investigated the actions of Teresa Osburne at the request of the city. “Our investigation identified $13,569 dollars of undeposited collections and $38.71 of improper disbursements for a total impact to the city of $13,608,” Mosiman says.
Mosiman says the city became suspicious after a man paid his utility bill and then got a disconnection notice. He brought proof of the payment to the city, but the money hadn’t been deposited into the city account. She says they reviewed records from July of 2015 through July of 2017 and found similar issues with the accounts handled by Osburne.
“The undeposited collections were primarily cash collections from the library, collections from the farmers market and the parks department for senior citizen bus trips,” according to Mosiman. More than $10,000 of the undeposited money was from the fines paid to the library. Mosiman says Osburne was placed on paid administrative leave on July 10th, 2017.
“During our investigation it was determined that Miss Osburne had stopped issuing receipts for the respective collections, however the library, farmers market and the parks department each maintained records of some sort which we were able to compare and determined the amount collected — but not deposited — into the city’s bank account,” Mosiman says.
A news release from the city says Osburne was fired from her position for gross misconduct. It says the actions by Osburne that resulted in her termination included falsifying city records, supplying false information, theft of public funds and dishonesty.
The city says it took immediate actions to improve the security measures surrounding the handling of city funds, including those recommended by the State Auditor. The city says the Johnston Police Department’s investigation is ongoing and criminal charges may be forthcoming.