By David Knopf/Richmond News
Orrick City Attorney Kevin Baldwin asked residents not to jump to conclusions in the Dec. 18 firing of former clerk Tricia Wartenbee.
Baldwin said Wartenbee’s employment was terminated at a special closed session after two aldermen looked into possible irregularities in city water bills and the clerk’s handling of water and court payments.
According to minutes from the meeting, the vote to fire was unanimous with members Shirley Taylor, Deanna Hufford, Christie McGlothlin and Jeanette Hensley voting in favor.
Baldwin did not say which two aldermen brought the issue to him. Calls to his office Tuesday and Wednesday were not returned.
“Some issues were addressed,” Baldwin said of the closed session in comments made after the board’s Jan. 13 monthly meeting. “Some of the rumors were that water bills were inflated. There were also rumors that some of the payments (the clerk) received couldn’t be accounted for.”
Baldwin said the matter was turned over to law enforcement for investigation.
“Our due diligence is that it be passed up the line to the appropriate agency,” he said. “It’s our hope that it truly comes to nothing.”
Wartenbee has not been charged with a crime. Contacted Thursday morning, she said she was notified of her termination in a letter hand-delivered by the police chief. The letter referred to improper postings to a city account without naming the account, Wartenbee said.