Budget discrepancies confirmed by an audit led to the termination of a city of Dumas employee, City Manager Arbie Taylor said.
Health/Code Enforcement Officer Holly LaFever was fired Friday after a months’-long investigation confirmed department funds had been mishandled. Taylor said the city began an internal audit when they saw discrepancies in code enforcement revenue. The city then handed the investigation off to an outside firm who confirmed the city’s findings. The audit showed LaFever misappropriated funds, and the city made the decision to terminate her employment.
The city’s website shows no health inspections have been posted since 2011, and the Journal’s investigation found several health permits for restaurants in the city have expired. In one incident, La Fever collected money for a permit without conducting the inspection. She later returned to the restaurant, completed the inspection and then backdated the inspection report.
In the past, business owners and managers paid for their health permits at City Hall after their restaurants were inspected, but Dumas Fire Chief Paul Jenkins wanted code enforcement, which falls under his department, to collect the fees, and the transfer of those responsibilities was done about two years ago. It was after Jenkins moved the collections from City Hall to code enforcement that the budget discrepancies occurred. The Journal contacted Jenkins in June 2015 to ask for the health inspection reports, but he said LaFever inspected few restaurants during the summer because she was busy with weed control. Jenkins said LaFever would return to health inpsections in late fall.
Taylor said the city couldn’t comment further because the investigation is on-going, but they will release information about the audit in the coming week. The Journal will combine its findings with the city’s in one report.