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State ethics investigators clear Corkett

Investigators for Oregon's Government Standards and Practices Commission recently recommended to the commission that an ethics complaint against Julia Corkett, former director of the West Linn Public Library, be dismissed.

The commission will review the recommendation and determine whether to officially dismiss the case.

Corkett was officially reprimanded a year ago by acting city manager Ken Worcester after she admitted that she had used city-issued credit cards for personal purchases.

A letter of reprimand was placed in her file; then she was placed on a year's probation, given a week off without pay and about six months later her contract was not renewed by the City Manager Chris Jordan.

Investigators said there wasn't enough evidence to prove that Corkett knowingly misused the city's wireless telephone or a gift card. But they did find evidence to prove that she used the city credit card for more than $700 of personal purchases.

'The evidence is insufficient to indicate that violations occurred with regard to any personal use of the city's wireless telephone or the library gift card,' investigators wrote in their report, dated Aug. 29. 'There is sufficient evidence to indicate that Ms. Corkett made personal purchases on the city's visa card and she readily admits the purchases.

'The circumstances regarding her supervision; the similarity between her personal account and the city's and the reimbursement combine with other mitigating factors to dissuade a recommendation to find a violation.'

During Corkett's employ, several city employees were being prosecuted for similar violations of conduct. One of those employees (Rebecca Storey, who is now serving a three-year sentence in prison), told Corkett not to worry about the personal purchases and just to reimburse the city, according to the GSPC report.

But Corkett also made more purchases with the city credit card. The GSPC report described what happened next:

'Later, from June to September 2004, she made additional inadvertent personal purchases on the city Visa charge,' the report said. 'Realizing the mistake, she wrote a check to reimburse the city, but it became lost. Ms. Storey told her to wait to see if the check was found. Ms. Corkett never heard from Ms. Storey and did not follow-up. Fifteen months later she repaid the city.'

Corkett made the mistake of using the wrong credit card in more than one way, using her own card for library purchases more than once, according to the report.

'Ms. Corkett has indicated that she did her personal banking at Bank of America, the bank that issued the city Visa card,' GSPC investigators reported. 'She had a personal Visa card account that was similar in appearance to the city Visa card. There were at least two occasions when she inadvertently purchased products for the library on her personal card.'

Corkett did not return phone messages left at her residence and with her attorney.

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Investigators for Oregon's Government Standards and Practices Commission have recommended to the commission that the complaint against Julia Corkett, former director of the West Linn Public Library, be dismissed.

After admitting that she had used city-issued credit cards for personal purchases, but had reimbursed the city, Corkett was officially reprimanded by then acting city manager Ken Worcester.

A letter of reprimand was placed in her file, she was placed on a year's probation, given a week off without pay and about six months later her contract was not renewed by City Manager Chris Jordan.

Investigators said there wasn't enough evidence to prove that she knowingly misused the city's wireless telephone or a gift card. But they did find evidence to prove that she used the city credit card for more than $700 of personal purchases.

'The evidence is insufficient to indicate that violations occurred with regard to any personal use of the city's wireless telephone or the library gift card,' investigators wrote in their report, dated Aug. 29. 'There is sufficient evidence to indicate that Ms. Corkett made personal purchases on the city's visa card and she readily admits the purchases.

'The circumstances regarding her supervision; the similarity between her personal account and the city's and the reimbursement combine with other mitigating factors to dissuade a recommendation to find a violation.'

In the middle of this scenario, several city employees were being prosecuted for similar violations of conduct. One of those employees (Rebecca Storey, who is now serving a three-year sentence in prison), told Corkett, according to the GSPC report, 'dismissed the importance of the incident and told her to reimburse the city.'

But Corkett allso made more accidental purchases with the city creit card. THeGSPC report described what happened next:

'Later, from June to September 2004, she made additional inadvertent personal purchases on the city Visa charge.,' the report said. 'Realizing the mistake, she wrote a check to reimburse the city, but it became lost. Ms. Storey told her to wait to see if the check was found. Ms. Corkett never heard from Ms. Storey and did not follow-up. Fifteen months later she repaid the city.'

Corkett made the mistake of using the wrong credit card in more than one way, using her own card for library purchases more than once, according to the report.

'Ms. Corkett has indicated that she did her personal banking at Bank of America, the bank that issued the city Visa card.,' GSPC investigators reported. 'She had a personal Visa card account that was similar in appearance to the city Visa card. There were at least two occasions when she inadvertently purchased products for the library on her personal card.'