Investigation into alleged payroll falsification approved by Luther Board of Trustees

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LUTHER, Okla. - The Luther Board of Trustees has agreed to formally investigate allegations into payroll falsification, however they won't say who is being investigated or where the allegations are coming from. However, the board was slated to discuss  a possible investigation into the police department.

A special meeting of the board was called for Monday night to discuss two items. The first was an executive session was to discuss and deliver the new police chief's evaluation based on his work during the probationary period.

The second executive session item stated the board would discuss with legal counsel "an investigation into allegations of falsification of payroll records" and said "on advice of legal counsel that public disclosure would seriously impair the ability of the Board or Trustees to process the pending investigation and any potential claims in the public interest as authorized by 225 O.S. Section 307(B)(4).

Town Clerk Kim Bourns said he didn't know of any allegations until they were brought to him by a trustee to be discussed in a meeting. He said as far as he knew, the allegations are out of the blue.

In an email from Mayor Jenni White ahead of the meeting, she said in addition to the the police chief's evaluation, "We're also meeting to determine if there have been any instances of impropriety in the police department which might require investigation."

Only three members of the current four member board was present. Jeff Schwarzmeir did not show up to the meeting.

After about two executive sessions totaling an hour and fifteen minutes, the board decided to extend the Police Chief Tony Walker's probationary period by 90 days. They didn't say why but did repeat praises of his work thus far.

They also made the decision to go forward with the investigation. Mayor White said in a statement, "The board takes any allegation of falsifications of records seriously. The board has approved Margaret McMorrow-Love to conduct an investigation. This is a confidential personnel matter and we look forward to reviewing the results at the end of the investigation."

She declined to answer any questions or say anything else at the urging of town attorney Beth Anne Childs.

Chief Walker said he didn't know anything about the payroll falsification allegations.

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