In February 2023, M.D. of Taber CAO Arlos Crofts reported to the Taber Police Service that a former employee, who provided clerical support for revenue collection, had allegedly misappropriated funds for her own use.
After a lengthy police investigation was conducted, police determined that the former employee of the M.D. of Taber had been allegedly stealing the M.D. of Taber funds, which equated to approximately $30,000, over a period of two years.
Jill Speer, 45, of Taber, was charged with theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000. Speer was scheduled to appear in Taber Court of Justice on Sept. 19.
“We are unable to provide much information on these allegations at this time, as the matter remains under investigation by the Taber Police Service,” said CAO Arlos Crofts in an initial statement. “However, we can confirm that we take the allegations seriously, and we are working hard to implement additional measures and safeguards to protect the MD’s financial systems and assets.”
According to an additional statement from the M.D. of Taber, the municipality had originally launched its own investigation into allegations of potential misappropriation of municipal funds in January 2023. The allegations were brought to M.D. leadership, in response to which the M.D. of Taber immediately launched an internal investigation and referred the allegations to the Taber Police Service for further investigation.
“In addition, the M.D. of Taber Council and Chief Administrative Officer are actively addressing this matter by taking proactive steps to reduce or eliminate such risk including additional external reviews, audits, process improvements, and control enhancements to safeguard our financial systems and assets,” said the M.D. in a statement. “Due to privacy legislation and with the matter currently under police investigation, the M.D. of Taber cannot provide further details or additional comment on the allegations at this time. The M.D. is working, and will continue to work, cooperatively with the Taber Police Service, until such a time that this matter is resolved.”
CAO Arlos Crofts reiterated the M.D.’s position on the matter in a statement released last week to the public and media.
“These allegations have weighed heavily on us, as we are committed to maintaining public confidence. Upon the emergence of these concerns in January 2023, the municipal Senior Administration took prompt action. This includes conducting a thorough internal investigation, and briefing Council once we were apprised of the situation. Subsequently, Council took immediate steps and transferred the investigation to local law enforcement for further examination. We have fully cooperated with the Taber Police Service throughout this process and will continue to do so through to resolution. The outcomes of the law enforcement inquiry are matters for the police service and justice system. We will respect the process and abstain from making any further comments on the matter at this time.”
Reeve Merrill Harris expressed dismay at the allegations and charges.
“The allegations of potential misuse of municipal funds have weighed heavily on each member of Council. When we learned of this incident, we were shocked, dismayed, and disappointed. We want to thank our Municipal Administration and the Taber Police Service for dealing with this incident in a prompt and professional manner. We appreciate the open working relationship between the Taber Police Service, Administration and Council.”