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Ortgiesen noted purchases on expense reports, Burke confirms

Council to hold special meeting Thursday

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 8:31 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 1:37 a.m. CDT
Shawn Ortgiesen

DIXON — Mayor Jim Burke said Tuesday that City Engineer Shawn Ortgiesen had logged his personal purchases and wrote "to be reimbursed" on credit card expense reports he submitted to the city.

Ortgiesen, 43, also the city's director of personnel and public works, was placed on paid administrative leave Monday for using a city credit card to buy personal items.

Burke also confirmed that Ortgiesen had used the card to pay for "hotels and meals."

The mayor would not provide further details on Ortgiesen's credit card use. Sauk Valley Media has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Ortgiesen's credit card records.

A special City Council meeting will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday. Commissioners will take public comment, then go into closed session. Some action is expected, but the council likely will not make a decision then on whether to fire Ortgiesen.

Ortgiesen tallied $13,521.14 in personal expenses on the city card from April 2007 to last month.

He has paid back $4,890.31, but the city could not confirm repayment of the balance of $8,630.83, according to records compiled by Finance Director Paula Meyer.

Ortgiesen had said he intended to repay those charges, Burke said Monday.

The City Council must give Ortgiesen "due process," the mayor said. That includes giving him the opportunity to present his case to the council members, which he might do Thursday.

Burke said the meeting was set for Thursday afternoon because that was the best time to bring commissioners together.

"People can make a comment, but it's not intended to be a public hearing," he said. "I felt the time [of the meeting] wasn't relevant. It's more important we go through the due process."

City officials are refraining from further comment until action is taken on Ortgiesen.

The city's personnel code has no specific policy that prohibits an employee from using city credit cards for personal use, but "one would assume people don't use public money for private use," Burke said Monday.

To attend

The council will meet at 1 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 121 W. Second St. Members will take public comment before going into executive session to discuss the employment status of Shawn Ortgiesen.

Go to discoverdixon.org and click on "Citizens Information Center" or call City Hall, 815-288-1485, for an agenda.

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