Springfield Police Investigate Former City Clerk

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Springfield police arrested the former City Clerk and Human Resources Director Anne Andrews yesterday for allegedly using city credit cards to make unauthorized purchases.

Last week, Liberty County School Superintendent Gloria Uzzell turned herself in to Sheriff's deputies on similar charges.

These type cases have some local governments evaluating their system of financial checks and balances.

Springfield Mayor Ralph Hammond took office in late April.

"You never expect something like this but it's been a challenge but everyday we're moving forward," he says.

A month ago, the city of Springfield notified the police department there were some irregularities in City Clerk Anne Andrew's credit card charges.

A few weeks ago, she was terminated.

Springfield Police Chief Philip Thorne says that's when they furthered the investigation.

Investigators say Andrews charged about $1,456 worth of personal items on city credit cards.

As the sole receiver of city bills, she's the only one that should have detected any fraudulent city credit card use.

We asked other local cities about their credit card procedures and discovered Springfield is the only one that doesn't require at least duplicate approval.

Panama City Beach has 2 or 3 city credit cards and about 15 purchase cards assigned to Department Heads.

Every purchase is approved by the Department Head, the City Manager, and the City Clerk.

Lynn Haven has only one city credit card.

Employees must have a completed requisition form and purchase order to use it, with approval from the City Clerk and a department agent.

Panama City has five credit cards.

Users must fill-out a request form, receive approval from the accounting department, and physically sign-out the card.

In each city, at least two people oversee the bills.

A safety net the city of Springfield did not have in place.

"She made some admissions at that time but said she had some admissions from the previous administration to utilize the credit card," Chief Thorne says, "we continued looking and found multiple other instances, could not get any corroboration that she had the authority."

Hammond says the city will quickly be making changes to get control of financial issues like this.