Richardson new Human Resources head

Amid a continuing investigation of alleged fraud, Assistant City Manager Jeff Richardson is temporarily taking over as human resources director. Richardson will audit the flexible-spending program for city employees monthly until a third-party administrator can be hired.

"In an effort to provide additional oversight and supervision of the Human Resources Department, Assistant City Manager Jeff Richardson will assume the director's role for the department, effective immediately," City Manager Gary Jackson wrote in a March 23 memorandum. "I am fully confident that Mr. Richardson will manage the department to the highest standards of accountability while the investigation moves forward," said Jackson, who had previously kept silent concerning the matter.

According to police search warrants, Lisa Roth, the previous director, had been accused by other employees of such practices as overreimbursing employees for items they'd purchased and allowing them to exceed their annual flexible-spending limits. As of this writing, however, neither Roth nor anyone else named in the warrants has been arrested or charged with any crime. Despite what Jackson's memo said, Public Information Officer Dawa Hitch emphasized that Roth is still employed by the city and listed as director.

"By taking these steps, we will strengthen the program's checks and balances while providing employees with sound direction and support," Jackson's memo notes.

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