Appeals Court: Klebba must keep deputy circuit clerk’s job

Theresa Klebba must remain a deputy clerk in Cole County’s circuit clerk’s office, the state appeals court in Kansas City ruled today.

Klebba has been on paid-leave for more than a year, after a panel of three judges from other Mid-Missouri counties ordered then-Circuit Clerk Brenda Umstattd to put Klebba back to work, and Umstattd immediately fired Klebba a second time.

The issue was missing money.

Umstattd first fired Klebba on July 1, 2011, saying an audit of Klebba’s receipts showed $50.00 missing, and citing "other discrepancies regarding the courts [sic] money.”

But Klebba appealed that termination, under a Supreme Court rule governing court system personnel issues, and the three-judge panel on Sept. 16, 2011, ordered her re-instated, with back pay.

When Klebba returned to work Sept. 26, Umstattd immediately gave her a second termination letter, which said “the reasons for the new dismissal are similar but distinctly separate from the reason for your previous dismissal.”

Klebba sued.

And on Jan. 9, 2012, Special Judge Robert Schollmeyer, who is Osage County’s associate circuit judge, ordered Umstattd to keep Klebba on the payroll.

Umstattd appealed, and a three-judge panel heard the oral arguments Nov. 8.

Meanwhile, Klebba remains on paid leave, while she faces a Cole County grand jury’s criminal indictment issued Dec. 20, 2011, charging her with stealing at least $500 while working in the circuit clerk’s office, from July 1, 2010-July 1, 2011.

Special Judge David C. Mobley, associate circuit judge in Ralls County, was assigned to hear the case, which is scheduled for a three-day trial in March.

Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight is handling the case after Mark Richardson recused his staff because they work with the circuit clerk’s office.

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