A McLennan County employee was fired after telling a supervisor she stole more than $10,000 from the county, according to her termination letter.
County Engineer Zane Dunnam fired Melissa Lindeman on Jan. 22 from her position of office coordinator for the county engineering department, according to the termination letter. Lindeman handled payment transactions at the front desk for culvert purchases, land subdivision plat review fees, floodplain review fees, map production fees and other matters, according to the letter.
First Assistant District Attorney Michael Jarrett said the DA’s office has referred the matter to the Texas Rangers for investigation. He declined additional comment because it is a pending matter.
The county auditor’s office notified Dunnam on Jan. 12 of discrepancies found in a recent audit, according to the termination letter. Dunnam then reviewed Lindeman’s process for collecting payments and deposits.
“The results of my review caused me great concern,” Dunnam wrote in the letter. “Knowing that you are the person in our office that takes in and handles almost all such payments I decided to talk to you about the shortfall found by the auditor.”
The duo spoke by phone Jan. 17, and Lindeman told Dunnam she took cash with plans to replace it, according to the termination letter. She said she had taken $10,265 since July, the letter states.
County Attorney Mike Dixon said the issue has been taken care of on the county’s side.
“It is unfortunate someone entrusted with public money allegedly does not serve that public trust, and the matter has been taken care of administratively and the rest is up to the justice system,” Dixon said.
County Auditor Stan Chambers said he sent a letter to Reyna’s office Jan. 19 informing him of the issue and to let him determine the path of investigation.
Chambers said the discrepancy was found during a regularly-scheduled audit. He said he has not been contacted by any law enforcement agency or the DA’s office since sending the letter.
Chambers said he has seen multiple incidents that appear to involve criminal activity during his years with the county and has referred each incident to the DA.
Lindeman started with the county in March 2000, then named Melissa White, working part-time in the county garage making $6 an hour, according to county documents. She was made a full-time employee in the garage in 2001. She worked there until August 2013, when she moved to the engineering department. Lindeman’s annual salary was $41,393, according to county documents.
Dunnam, who started at the county in July, said Wednesday he had no comment.
Lindeman also declined comment Wednesday.