Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clerk Candidate Accused of `Misuse of Supplies'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clerk Candidate Accused of `Misuse of Supplies'

Article excerpt

Kate Fellers, a candidate for the Republican nomination for St. Charles County circuit clerk, this week used official county government envelopes to mail two letters - one to the editor of the St. Charles Post and one to the St. Charles Journal.

At least one county official has criticized Fellers for using county supplies.

The envelopes were printed with the return address of the county Highway Department. Fellers, 41, has worked since December as executive assistant to Joe Nichols, county highway engineer and director of the Highway Department. She formerly worked for a year as executive assistant to County Executive Eugene C. Schwendemann.

Fellers denies any wrongdoing. She said she had sent the letters as a county resident and had not referred to her campaign or to a county office or job title. She said her name was not on the envelope. "I bought the envelopes and stamps, I got a receipt, no one got ripped off, it was done on the up-and-up and there was nothing political," she said.

But Gerald E. "Jerry" Ohlms, the county director of administrator, takes a grim view of the matter. In a memo to Nichols, Ohlms said on Wednesday that he had been presented "with allegations of inappropriate and unacceptable behavior" on Fellers' part.

Ohlms continued, "The allegations include blatant misuse of county supplies and equipment." Ohlms told Nichols, "If the allegations are correct, they call for immediate and severe disciplinary action."

Nichols said on Thursday that he had not responded to Ohlms. "At this point I am investigating as best I can and will make a decision based on what I think is appropriate."

Asked about any office policy that would allow an employee to buy envelopes, Nichols said the county's employee handbook "prohibits the use of county equipment or materials. We've made it a policy over the years never to allow that to happen. …

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