Nonetheless, Gauck said, Weber, as an experienced auditor, should have known that she needed to seek Council approval before she released any money from that fund.
However, Gauck also acknowledged that it “could have been an honest mistake.”
Via email Tuesday, Weber concurred with Gauck’s assessment.
“I agree with Mr. Gauck that it was a misunderstanding and that there was no criminal intent,” Weber said.
Gauck said that given that Weber has agreed to pay back the money, no criminal prosecution was needed.
“Let’s go on,” Gauck said.
Weber, a Republican said last week that she believes the Council is punishing her because of intra-party politics. Six of the seven Council members are Republicans. Weber also said that her attorney told her that the incident resembles a “witch hunt.”
Gauck said that he found out about Weber’s salary padding from Decatur County Commissioner Rick Nobbe. Nobbe, a Democrat, told the Daily News that he was informed of Webber’s actions by someone else whom he did not want to identify.
“If I thought it would help in any way, I would,” Nobbe said.
Gauck also said that once the Council saw the discrepancy in the payroll, Council members had no choice but to contact state officials.
“Our hands were tied,” Gauck said.
The Decatur Councy Council in September amended the salary ordinance for 2011 retroactively to reflect higher salaries for all five employees in the auditor’s office — but not for Weber.
Gauck said the Council took that decision based on a recommendation by the SBOA and that it was a “matter of simplicity.”
He said that it probably would have cost the Council more in accounting and legal fees to figure out how to retrieve the additional salaries from the five employees and figure out taxes, retirement fund contributions, health care, and so on, than to simply amend the ordinance to reflect the higher salaries.
In Weber’s case, the Council was dealing with just one salary, so the math was much simpler, he said.
Politics or punishing Weber had nothing to do with the decision to not retroactively amend her salary, Gauck said.
Contact: Boris Ladwig 812-663-3111 x7401; firstname.lastname@example.org