Ward County employee not charged in credit card misuse, fired from department

MINOT, N.D. – A Ward County employee suspended in June amid reports of misuse of a county credit card will not face charges, but no longer works for the county.

Kris Weber served as co-interim Emergency Manager for Ward County until her suspension June 21.

County Commission Chair Shelly Weppler called an emergency meeting on June 21, after learning of a possible misuse of a county credit card within the Emergency Management department, where the commissioners voted to suspend Weber.

Weber appeared at that meeting, but seemed unaware of what the meeting was about until the commissioners addressed it.

The county initially put Weber’s salary in escrow, but changed her suspension to “without pay” on July 2.

According to Ward County Human Resources Director Robin Finneseth and State’s Attorney Roza Larson, a special counsel out of McLean County ruled they did not have enough evidence to prove criminal intent in the reported misuse of county funds, and chose not to prosecute the case.

Finneseth said Weber was fired July 12 at the direction of Travis Schmit, who was serving as interim emergency manager at the time, citing “deficiencies” in her work performance.

In June the commissioners selected Jennifer Weichmann as the new permanent Emergency Manager, after Amanda Schooling resigned from the position in March, though she did not take over the position until later in the summer.

Weber and Schmit had previously served as co-interim emergency managers until Weichmann formally took over the job. Finneseth said that Schmit handled Weber’s termination rather than the commissioners, since she was no longer serving in a managerial position.

She said the special counsel filed their report with the county on July 30, after Weber would have been fired.