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Fired auditor employees turned away from county offices

Two former auditor employees charged with theft showed up Monday morning for work at the La Salle County Governmental Complex in Ottawa.

Arriving at 8 a.m. when offices opened for the day, Pamela Wright and Tori Artman were both turned away by La Salle County Board Chairman Jim Olson.

Olson reiterated Monday they are no longer county employees and are barred from the complex by the La Salle County Board. He said he didn't have any further comment on the matter.

Todd Martin, attorney for Wright and Artman, said the two of them "were advised by their employer to come back to work at 8 a.m., so that's what they did."

The pair was charged with theft in September for getting paid for overtime prosecutors said they didn't work.

The duo was fired April 25 during a Salary and Labor Committee meeting. They were initially banned, along with Auditor Jody Wilkinson who also is charged, from the complex in October by the County Board, then suspended April 11 without pay. That suspension, however, was rescinded April 22 before affecting a pay period.

Since that time, a judge ruled Wilkinson can return to her office and resume her elected duties, which she has.

According to state statute, the auditor shall appoint deputies and employees. Compensation of deputies and employees not otherwise provided for by law shall be fixed by the county auditor subject to budgetary limitations established by the county board. 

Olson has said he believes from legal advice the county board has an equal right to fire county employees and the county is seeking full-time employees to succeed them.

When Wilkinson was asked about the incident, she asked The Times not to contact her on her cellphone.

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