Blue Hill town treasurer resigns

BLUE HILL — Town of Blue Hill Treasurer Jody Murphy resigned effective Nov. 16, Blue Hill Selectman Jim Schatz said Friday.

Murphy tendered her resignation letter three days after a hearing involving the Board of Selectmen, Murphy, town attorney Diane O’Connell and Murphy’s attorney, John K. Hamer of the Bangor firm Rudman Winchell.

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Murphy said she wasn’t expecting that the Nov. 13 hearing with the board and her attorney would end up being a “mediation” for the terms of her departure.

“That’s what it ended up being,” she said.

Murphy’s resignation letter did not cite a reason for her departure.

The selectmen had voted to put Murphy on paid administrative leave Oct. 5.

During the board’s regular weekly meeting Friday, Schatz announced “irregularities in depositing cash” that the town auditor had discovered in August. Those discoveries were made during the FY 2016 audit of the town’s books, Schatz said.

Asked if there was a connection between the treasurer’s resignation and the missing money, Schatz said the board could not say if the two were related.

“The whole matter is still under investigation,” Schatz said.

The total of the cash discrepancy is $10,777.66, the selectman said.

Schatz said the town had also asked the auditor to check the Surry-Blue Hill transfer station finances. There is approximately $2,460 unaccounted for at the transfer station, he said.

“We are sending the material and filing a recovery from our bond company,” Schatz said.

Schatz said that Maine statute requires that town officials report missing funds to the Office of the Maine State Auditor.

“Depending on how the investigation goes, we might be talking to the attorney general,” said Schatz.

Murphy on Tuesday denied any wrongdoing and said she is “shocked” by the events that have transpired.

“When I went to that first and only hearing it was brought to my attention from reading the investigation report that was inconclusive,” Murphy said.

“When I was put on leave, I thought it was just going to be for a week or two and they were going to find what happened or the people who were responsible,” said Murphy. “I was concerned, but I wasn’t that concerned because I didn’t do anything.”

“I thought that, if anything, we’d go back to work and there would be training or policies or procedures that weren’t in place to fine tune the way things were done so there were checks and balances,” she said.

“I’ve never had any problems before,” said Murphy. “Professionally, as far as my job goes, I’ve never had a problem doing it. This is a big shock to me.”

“It’s hard,” Murphy said. “It’s a very small town. I built my life around this position. I bought a house.”

Of the financial discrepancies in the town’s books, Selectman Ellen Best said “I would say we have been diligent in following this as best we can.

“We continue to do what is necessary in terms of reporting things to the appropriate authorities,” Best said.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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