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County worker accused of theft from her church back on the job

By   /   October 16, 2010  /   Comments

Staff reports

A longtime highly regarded Dougherty County human resources employee accused of stealing money from her church was back in her taxpayer-funded job within a week after her arrest, public records show.

County Administrator Richard Crowdis determined that Yolanda Pope’s criminal charges did not warrant her to be suspended or placed on a leave of absence, particularly because she hasn’t been indicted and her $32,800-a-year job does not involve handling money.

Pope, 52, administers the county’s health and life insurance programs. She is free on $5,000 bond.

“In the case of the July 12, 2010 arrest of county employee Yolanda Pope on felony charges for theft by taking from her former church, I have decided after deliberation and discussions with County Attorney Spencer Lee and Human Resources Director Alice Goseer Jenkins to not initiate any act of suspension at this time,” Crowdis said in a memorandum to county commissioners. “Ms. Pope is a 15-year employee with Dougherty County in the Human Resources Department. Her work record is very satisfactory with no personnel issues or controversy during this time. Her position as all others in HR is not accessible to county funds. I expect Ms. Pope to continue working diligently in her administrative duties.”

Crowdis said he will reconsider options under the county’s personnel policy after Pope’s case is presented to a grand jury.

Pope is charged with 27 counts of theft and fraud following a complaint by officials at her small south Dougherty County church, New Macedonia Baptist. She is the daughter of a former pastor of the church, and served as church treasurer in a volunteer capacity. In 2008, a church employee was charged with stealing about $30,000 from new Macedonia Baptist.

The case is being handled by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which says that Pope used a church automated teller machine card 21 times between 2007 and 2009 to illegally withdraw more than $6,000 in funds. She is charged with six counts of theft by receiving and 21 counts of financial transaction card theft.

Authorities say that Pope was not authorized to have the ATM card.

Pope, of Dawson, has a clean personnel record with glowing appraisals from Jenkins and letters of commendation.

In one situation, a county employee raved about Pope’s diplomatic skills.

“I came to you earlier today about dropping my insurance and just wanted to tell you I really appreciate you talking to me,” county employee Danny McMullen told her in a 2009 e-mail. “I was a little upset about the situation but after talking to you I really appreciate the job you do. I even made the comment at the drug unit you should assist the SWAT team as a negotiator due to your kind demeanor. You turned my entire day around for the better.”

McMullen’s feedback generated kudos by Crowdis and Jenkins.

“Great job! I thank you for your excellent customer service,” Crowdis wrote to Pope.

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  1. Allison says:

    You know in this day and age it’s really sad that race is still such an issue with people…color is only skin deep..when we die and are buried our bodies will decay the same…we all have red blood…what matters is what’s in the heart. Right is right and wrong is wrong..
    Mr. Reddish is being railroaded. I guess it’s not important to some people that a man’s reputation and lively hood is being destroyed here. The truth will come out in the wash.

  2. Truth B Known says:

    It is always who you know in albany.Thats the way it goes.And it s time for change.Maybe we can get albany back.But after people getting cought with guns and knifes at work,and stealing from work,and no one pays.Well thats no better than a street thug.Just they know they will get away with it.I have seen it happen to many times,and now they want us to pass the splost tax so they can pay Allfred when it gets ready to leave.I am tired of paying for there screw ups.

  3. Truth B Known says:

    See only if you work for Albany can you steal from Albany and get away with it.I dont have to remind anyone of all the money that has gone to friends and familys of Gov. here.And it s wrong,but i have not seen any of them before a judge.And if they did,they got a slap on the hand.If the cops are going to lock someone up,dont let them out so fast.Thats why the crime is so bad here,cops try to do there jobs,and judges let them go.

  4. Disappointed in Agony GA says:

    If she’s stolen from her church, this is a lifelong behavior. Well, at least she’s employed in the right place for criminals. She’s among friends in local government – the worst of the worst in thievery. Who knows what all she’s stolen and hasn’t gotten caught. Even if she doesn’t directly handle money in her job, that doesn’t mean she’s not hooked up with another employee who does. Everything about local government comes down to who you know and what your skin color is. That’s why Albany went from being a “good life city” to the melting pot of the worst Georgia has to offer. Agony.

  5. Allison says:

    Okay..I gotta ask….This woman who was charged with six counts of theft by receiving and 21 counts of financial transaction card theft, took $6,000.00 and they put her back to work?!!

    The young man that works at the airport (Sean Reddish) was charged with 2 felonies for selling scrap metal (that was given to him by the sign owner) for $1,100.00 is still on suspension?

    What is wrong with this picture?..I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it…the taxpayers are paying for this young man to not be there doing his job and keeping up airport property while this woman still has her job after stealing from a church!!.

    Are the ‘powers that be’ drowning in a sea of their own bad press? Not only is this unfair to Mr. Reddish, but it’s ridiculous and unethical! God I hope we see a change for Albany after the elections.
    Hmmm…I wonder if it could have anything to do with skin color? Clearly her crime is much more serious than that of what Mr. Reddish is accused of. So why is Mr. Reddish not free to return to work until his case is resolved? I would really like an explanation for this!
    I really hope this doesn’t turn out to be one of those deals where it’s “who you know”
    and not “what you know”.

    1. jimmy says:

      it don’t look like my last comment made it.justice should be the equal for evryone. it dont matter if you black white or chinese! somebody told me the airport fired mr. reddish against the city rules. he is innocent until proven guilty!this lady got to go back to work for bigger crimes! the paper said she was finally suspended with no pay after the grand jury decided. so why was mr. reddish fired then? how did fletcher avoid arrest? how did banks get her case tossed out in a week? the reddish alleged crime is minor compared to these. whats the difference? he is white for 1 thing!!! i pray that he will open the truth.

About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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