Above: Former city of Dumas Health/Code Enforcement Officer Holly Lafever was arrested for theft of a vacuum cleaner, which the indictment says belongs to the Dumas Fire Department.
A former city of Dumas official who was arrested last year on Count I of an indictment was arrested May 19 on Count II.
Holly Lafever was arrested May 19 for theft. The indictment alleges she stole a vacuum cleaner from the Dumas Fire Department “on or about” June 17, 2016. She was fired from her position as the city’s health/code enforcement officer June 17, 2016. Lafever was arrested Dec. 5, 2016, on Count I, tampering with physical evidence.
Lafever’s arrests stem from an investigation the city conducted when officials noticed revenue from health permits had declined when they were preparing the 2016/2017 budget. City manager Arbie Taylor said their line-by-line review revealed inconsistent yearly trends in the line item for health permit fees, for which LaFever was responsible. City officials conducted an internal investigation and then hired an outside auditor for a second investigation. They then contacted the Texas Rangers.
Count I of the indictment alleges Lafever destroyed a $225 check from Allsup’s Convenience Stores Inc. in order to keep it from being used in the investigation. The check is dated June 1, 2015. So, how did a check dated a year before the investigation fail to be deposited in the city’s bank account?
The Journal reported in June 2016 that Taylor said it happened because decisions made by former Dumas Fire Chief Paul Jenkins created breaches in the accounting checks and balances.
“Previously, City Hall would send out an application for inspection, collect the $75 fee and then report to the health inspector that the business had paid their fee and was ready to be inspected,” Taylor said in June 2016. “Once the inspection was passed, the permit would be issued.”
But then sometime in 2013, Jenkins changed that process, and the health inspector started collecting the fees. Taylor said after that change, the fees were either paid directly to the health inspector or to the fire department.
“That caused a critical breakdown in the checks and balances that are critical to our accounting procedures,” Taylor said.
Jenkins retired in September 2016. The Journal has filed an open records request, asking if Jenkins was reprimanded or held accountable in any way for the breaches that allowed a year-old check not to be deposited, as well as the breakdown in checks and balances that led to the decline in health permit revenues.
Court records show Lafever has a court hearing June 5. Count I, tampering with physical evidence, is a second degree felony. Count II, theft, is a Class B Enhanced to Class A Misdemeanor (Public Servant), according to the indictment.