MOUNT VERNON — Former Mount Vernon City employee Greg Vickers appeared before Judge Paul Spurgeon in Mount Vernon Municipal Court on Monday morning for sentencing on four counts of petty theft.
Vickers was terminated from his job as a meter reader and repair foreman in October after being charged with purchasing items for personal use.
The charges brought before Vickers were for theft of lights, a screen door, a shower head and deck stain, with a total value of $233. Vickers had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but changed his plea to guilty on Jan. 9.
Vickers’ attorney, Zachuary Meranda, told Spurgeon that Vickers is remorseful and embarrassed for what he did, has no prior criminal record and has paid restitution in full. He asked Spurgeon to take this into consideration and asked for minimal jail time and fines, and suggested considering possible house arrest or community service.
“I hate what I did. I’ve been kicking myself ever since,” Vickers told Spurgeon. “I’ve never done anything like this in my life. I made a terrible mistake.”
Spurgeon then announced sentencing on Vickers. The first count of theft carries a $200 fine plus court costs with the other three counts adding a fine of $100 each. Each count constituted a sentencing of 180 days in jail with 120 days suspended on the condition Vickers serves two years of continual probation reporting and that no similar offenses occur within that time period. Jail time for each offense will be served concurrently meaning they will be served at the same time with Vickers spending 60 days in jail. He was to report to the Knox County Jail on Monday.
Vickers and Meranda each declined comment following the sentencing.
“I was disappointed from the outset. I had Greg when I was teaching many years ago and have known him for a long time,” said Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis. “When I became mayor, as far as I knew he was doing a good job. When I found he was guilty of buying things for other than exclusive use of the city, it was a big disappointment. It seems to me the fine is appropriate and the suspension of the long-term jail time is also appropriate. I think it sounds fair.”
Because Mount Vernon Safety-Service Director Dave Glass believes Pam Muralt, administrator for billing and customer service, failed to properly monitor purchases made by Vickers, she was issued a three-day disciplinary working suspension Feb. 24.
According to the disciplinary action acquired by the News, Glass found Muralt to be “guilty of serious neglect.” He said Muralt failed to “monitor appropriately certain purchases which were sufficiently out of the ordinary to require at least further scrutiny by you to assure the purchases were proper.” Glass also reprimanded Muralt for not spending an appropriate amount of time in the Meter Shop, where Glass said he believed Muralt could have better assessed the purchases made by Vickers.
The suspension allowed Muralt to continue working and still be paid during the assigned suspension. Glass said although Muralt was issued a “working suspension” that did not result in the loss of pay, “that does not diminish at all the seriousness or significance of this action.”
Muralt declined to comment on the suspension.