Belfry School business manager suspended, under investigation

2012-10-02T23:00:00Z 2014-08-25T06:41:16Z Belfry School business manager suspended, under investigationBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The business manager for Belfry Public Schools has been suspended without pay after district officials discovered unauthorized purchases on her school-issued credit card.

"Right now it's under investigation," said Superintendent Jason Olson.

Last week, Olson discovered the credit card statement belonging to Patti Webb, the district's business manager and clerk.

"As soon we found out, I suspended her with pay," Olson said.

He then brought it to the school board's attention and contacted Jeff Weldon, the district's lawyer.

The board voted to use Weldon's law firm and open an investigation into Webb's spending. Webb was then suspended from the district without pay late last week.

The initial credit card statement that caught Olson's attention had $18,000 worth of charges on it. However, the district won't know exactly how much of that -- or more -- was due to unauthorized spending, Weldon said.

The card she used was attached to an account that had been opened in 2005. Webb took over as business manager in 2007.

Most of the charges on the statement were for "everyday expense sort of things," Weldon said, like fuel, groceries, restaurants and clothes.

The investigator in the case is a retired public school business manger, someone who has expertise in school finance, Weldon said. He's hopeful the investigation will finish late next week.

Belfry is a kindergarten through 12th-grade school district, which currently has 25 students enrolled.

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