The Parker Town Council has voted not to renew the employment agreement with Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer. The 6-1 vote came at the Council’s June 7 meeting. The Council directed the Town Attorney to issue a Notice of Termination to Wedemeyer.
Town Clerk May Putnam will continue at Interim Town Manager until the Council takes further action.
Wedemeyer had been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 22, 2021, due to an investigation of possible embezzlement at Town Hall. As of June 8, that investigation by Arizona Auditor General’s office and the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office is ongoing.
“Notice is required to be given to Ms. Wedemeyer at least 60 days prior to the expiration of her agreement on Sept. 11, 2022 to avoid the automatic renewal of her agreement for another year,” a press release from the Town said. “By issuing this notice, Ms. Wedemeyer’s contract does not automatically renew. She will receive her salary and benefits until the end of her contract term through Sept. 11, 2022.”
Wedemeyer was named Town Manager on Oct. 25, 2006. She had been serving as Interim Town Manager since the departure of Lanny Sloan earlier that year.
The situation with the investigation of possible embezzlement began Sept. 23, when a town employee contacted Wedemeyer and said she had been interviewed by the Auditor General’s office and had embezzled funds from the town. Based on this interview and a follow-up interview with Wedemeyer, the employee was terminated Sept. 24.
Wedemeyer was later seen removing items from Town Hall after business hours. This prompted the search warrants for her home and for Town Hall, which were executed Oct. 20.
Wedemyer’s attorney, Ashley Adams, said she went to Town Hall on advice of the Town’s attorneys to locate bank records and statements. She went after hours because she had tested positive for the coronavirus. The items she removed were personal items she had ordered that were delivered to her office.
Adams noted Wedemeyer had cooperated fully with investigators, even driving one of them to her home for the search.
Two days after her home was searched, the Council placed Wedemeyer on paid administrative leave.
On March 14, Wedemeyer filed a Notice of Claim with the Town. She sought damages from the Town, Mayor Karen Bonds and Council Member Randy Hartless. She said Bonds and Hartless defamed her. She is seeking lost retirement pay and wages, as well as damages for the alleged defamation.