Aldermen force long-serving court clerk from her position

October 25, 2013 10:14:04 AM

Carl Smith - csmith@cdispatch.com

 

Aldermen effectively removed Starkville Municipal Court Clerk Debra Wood from her position Thursday by unanimously asking for her resignation by 5 p.m. today. 

 

Wood faces termination unless she agrees to step down. 

 

Six aldermen met behind closed doors Thursday and discussed the personnel move for almost three hours. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver was absent from the proceedings. 

 

After the board's decision, aldermen and other city officials refused to comment on the move, citing the nature of the action. 

 

Wood has served as a court clerk for at least 20 years. In 2011, she qualified as a Democrat in the Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk's race. Republican Glenn Hamilton went on to win the election. 

 

The Dispatch learned Monday of an investigation into financial wrongdoing involving a municipal court employee, but the details of that inquiry were not released Thursday. Starkville Police officials previously said criminal charges were not expected to be filed against the city employee. 

 

Thursday's action marks the second time the board voted to remove an employee this term. In July, former Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill was ousted from her job as the city's second in command. No reason for her termination was given, and the board did not meet in executive session to discuss the move. 

 

In March, a Starkville City Clerk's Office employee resigned after an internal investigation tied her to embezzlement. City Clerk Taylor Adams said in March the investigation began as a result of new, more stringent financial control methods implemented within his office.

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch