Charged With Embezzlement, Rush Springs City Clerk Remains At Post
RUSH SPRINGS, Oklahoma - A Rush Springs city clerk who admits to embezzling thousands from the city remains a city employee.
The clerk surrendered to investigators last month following an independent audit. John Morrow was in full control of the town's money that included the city's payroll, including his own. He allegedly embezzled more than $12,000 from the town for years until he was caught. But, he still holds his position as the city's clerk.
According to court documents, it was a seven year embezzling scheme that many would think would cost you your job. Court papers reveal Morrow didn't withhold payroll taxes from his paychecks, or insurance premiums. The city clerk is even accused of issuing himself extra paychecks.
"Since the audit first indicated that there was some impropriety, he's been under scrutiny," said Rush Springs attorney, David Perryman.
Perryman says since Morrow is an elected official, the Board of Trustees cannot remove him from his position, even if it wanted to.
"This is beyond the scope and authority of the town Board of Trustees at this time," said Perryman.
According to Perryman, the Board recently held a special session to appoint a deputy clerk to sign off on all the city's financial transactions. Since that appointment, Perryman says Morrow has voluntarily removed himself from financial responsibilities.
"I did have a conversation with him and asked him to consider removing himself as a signatory on the accounts," said Perryman.
Now, Perryman says Morrow can only be taken off the job through the following ways.
"He can be removed from office by resignation, the end of a term, or by an ouster proceeding," said Perryman.
Oklahoma law requires that an ouster proceeding be initiated by the district attorney. Until then, Perryman says Morrow is innocent until proven guilty.
A preliminary hearing on Morrow's felony embezzlement charges is set for early April. He still has another year left in office.