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Settlement imminent in former utility billing, collection supervisor’s wrongful termination case

A former Boulder City employee claiming wrongful termination for the city ending his employment after $50,000 was found missing in his department’s bank account settled the case outside of arbitration, his attorney said.

James Petrie, the city’s former utility billing and collection supervisor, was fired and a criminal investigation was launched after a third-party audit found $50,000 missing from the city’s bank accounts last year.

Petrie’s attorney, Adam Levine, argued that making deposits was not in Petrie’s job description and that the missing money was a result of Petrie’s bosses’ inattention to four annual audits that criticized the department’s accounting process.

“The city, when they fired him, knew that James didn’t take the money,” Levine said in a phone interview March 15.

Petrie’s termination letter said the city fired him because he made nearly 200 utility payment deposits several months late and 36 deposits totaling $53,386 were unaccounted for. Levine emphasized that although Petrie took the deposits to the bank, he had no hand in counting the cash deposits before they were put in sealed bags by the clerks.

Petrie and his attorney were supposed to go into arbitration April 7. Levine said Friday afternoon that the proceeding “did not go forward” and the issue was settled outside arbitration.

“The City, Teamsters Local 14, and James Petrie reached a mutually agreeable resolution,” Levine said in an email. Unfortunately, he said, the terms of the settlement prevent him from discussing its specific terms.

A Boulder City spokesman said Tuesday that the city won’t discuss the settlement while talks with Petrie are ongoing.

“While the city is in discussions with Mr. Petrie’s attorney regarding resolution of his claims, the process has not yet been finalized, so it would not be appropriate to comment,” said city spokesman JC Davis.

Davis said police are still investigating the missing funds, but that “the potential resolution of (Petrie’s) termination has no bearing on any actions by the Boulder City Police Department.”

Contact Kimber Laux at klaux@bouldercityreview.com or 702-586-9401. Find her on Twitter: @lauxkimber

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