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A former office manager in Longview’s Public Works Division was fired Oct. 17 after she reported using a city credit card for her personal expenses.

City spokesman Richard Yeakley said the Longview Police Department has initiated a criminal investigation into the matter.

“She self-reported that it had occurred over an 18-month period,” Yeakley said, starting in early 2021 until she informed her supervisor of the “misappropriation of funds.”

Some city employees have access to credit cards as part of their jobs, and Yeakley said the city has policies and procedures in place to ensure “proper management” of those funds.

“It was part of the work process of her job,” he said.

The job description of an office manager within the city of Longview organization includes administrative support but also such duties as organizing training, travel and hotel arrangements and working with vendors to purchase departmental supplies and equipment

“We are going to be working with an independent, third-party forensic auditor to review all the financial aspects that the employee had responsibility for,” Yeakley said. The audit will determine how much money is involved, how it was possible that the employee used the credit card for personal expenses for so long and what policy changes might be needed to ensure the city’s policies are robust and protect public funds.

The city declined to identify the former employee because there’s an open criminal investigation. She worked for the city for almost three years, starting in December 2019.

Jo Lee Ferguson wishes she kept her maiden name - Hammer - because it was perfect for a reporter. She’s a local girl who loves writing about her hometown. She and LNJ Managing Editor Randy Ferguson have two children and a crazy husky.