Beleaguered Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District Board Member Mike Greer abruptly resigned on Monday, after weeks of mounting pressure centered on his admitted misuse of a district credit card.
The district quietly put up an advertisement for a new board member, without publicly announcing Greer’s departure, in the wake of two stormy board meetings during which Greer had attempted to explain his use of a district credit card for a mix of personal items and district business.
PSWID District Manager Brad Cole said Greer on Monday afternoon sent board chairman Gary Lovetro a letter saying he had resigned.
Lovetro did not return calls prior to press time on Monday, nor did Greer.
Cole said the board will accept applications and resumés between now and Jan. 15. The board will then appoint a new board member through a secret ballot during its Jan. 17 meeting, said Cole, who is also project manager for CH2MHill — the private firm that manages the district.
Cole declined comment on the reasons for Greer’s resignation and observed, “he seemed upright and on the level to me.”
Greer has been at the center of controversy ever since fellow board member Tom Weeks discovered that Greer had for some time had use of a district credit card. While reviewing budget records, Weeks discovered several month’s worth of charges on the card, including charges at Home Depot and restaurants here and in the Valley.
Weeks was determined to challenge Greer’s use of the card at a board meeting, but before he could speak, Greer told the audience that he had used the district card to make personal purchases and that he had repaid the district some $2,300 in mistaken charges. Greer apologized for charging some personal items on the card and said that he had simply pulled out the wrong card on several occasions.
The revelations set off weeks of questions and controversy. The Roundup obtained the credit card records going back a year and added up nearly $9,000 in charges. When the Roundup requested records to back up the charges, district officials said Greer had not submitted detailed receipts. Several of the credit card billings also noted the lack of receipts. In an interview, Greer said he had receipts for the purchases.
The district’s accounting manager said Greer had cleared most of the charges with her and that most of them involved district projects. Greer had volunteered his time as an electrician on several district projects. Some questions remain about the timing of the purchases, the details of many of the charges and whether other board members had knowledge of the use of the credit card.
The district’s accounting manager has said that many of the charges related to efforts to repair and replace pumps and generators. Greer had gotten embroiled in other conflicts previously after the district awarded a no-bid contract to a firm in which Greer had once had a financial interest. After critics challenged the bid award, Greer indicated that he had severed his financial relationship with that firm prior to the award of the no-bid contract. The district had broken a single large project into a series of smaller contracts, with each amount below the dollar amount for which state statute requires public districts to seek competitive bids.
At a board meeting last week, Greer resigned from his position as board treasurer, but said he would not resign from the board. He insisted he had made a well-intentioned mistake, repaid all the personal charges and had volunteered many hours of labor in connection with the materials he had properly charged on the card. He said that the Roundup had inflamed the situation by using remarks he made in an interview out of context.
Nonetheless, many audience members called on him to resign — insisting that misuse of the district’s credit card could constitute criminal misconduct.