STOCK_Gary City Hall

STOCK_Gary City Hall

GARY — The city’s deputy controller has been terminated after a review of records revealed millions in restrictive EMS funds were improperly used for years to cover the cash-strapped city’s payroll and other expenses, the mayor confirmed Tuesday night. 

Ex-Deputy Controller Michele Roby was terminated from her position, effective May 29, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson told The Times following the Common Council meeting Tuesday night. 

Roby was placed on administrative leave last month pending the outcome of the city's investigation into the the misuse of funds. 

Though the transfers covered legitimate city spending, Fund 224 is a restricted-use fund, meaning it can only go toward ambulance and EMS services-related expenses unless the City Council signs off.  

The transfers were never authorized by the council. 

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Roby's former boss, Celita Green, had her $17,000 consultant contract terminated May 14 by the mayor's office after the city’s financial review determined about $7.7 million was improperly transferred from the city’s ambulance fund from Jan. 1, 2015, to March 31, during Green's tenure.

Meanwhile, Freeman-Wilson said the Indiana State Board of Accounts has not made a final decision on whether they will conduct their own, independent audit of the city's Ambulance Fund and other wire transfers. 

Last month, Roby's attorney, Darnail Lyles, said his client could not have acted alone. Lyles could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. 

An accountant firm hired by the city continues to review the city's 146 special-use funds for inappropriate wire transfers. That review should be completed by the end of June, Freeman-Wilson said. 

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Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.