Dankof noted that the pre-sentence report recommended community control. “Frankly, in reviewing the report, I’m completely comfortable with the recommendations contained in the report,” the judge said.
An internal investigation obtained by the I-Team in early 2015 showed that the money — all cash — was collected by Smith, but didn’t make it into the county’s coffers. That led to at least eight people receiving water shutoff notices weeks after paying their bill.
Smith worked for the county from 1987 until she was put on paid administrative leave in January 2015 and then resigned a month later. She made $41,898 in salary in 2014, according to county records.
Prosecutors alleged that in her job as a customer service specialist, Smith took money from customers who paid their water and solid waste tipping fees between Aug. 20, 2013 and Dec. 24, 2014.
There were no victim impact statements during court Wednesday, but county administrator Joe Tuss was irked last year.
“The actions of this employee created significant inconvenience for these folks,” he said then, and promised to review procedures to stop it from happening again. “It is something I’m upset about, and it makes me angry.”
Marshall Lillard was one of the customers whose water would have been turned off had he not returned from vacation when he did and found a delinquent notice in the mail. Lillard said last year that he remembered paying the bill in person and seeing Smith there by herself.
“She took the money. She gave me a receipt. I knew I paid the bill,” said Lillard, who wished county officials would have told him what happened sooner. “Wouldn’t you want to know what’s going on when you pay your money out for a water bill and get a disconnect notice?”
Cicero said most of the restitution will be made next week and wrapped up a short time after that. He added that Smith took her vacation pay — nearly $3,000 — after she resigned and put it toward restitution: “She’s been apologetic and up front since Day 1.”