Port Orange employees suspended over billing mistakes

Computer entry costs city $1.5 million

PORT ORANGE, Fla. - Some Port Orange city employees have been suspended after billing mistakes totaling $1.5 million and Local 6 has learned one employee was spotted taking documents from her office after the suspension.

Betty Barnhardt, the customer service manager for the city of Port Orange was spotted on surveillance video being locked out of City Hall on Oct. 9 after being suspended from her post. She is then spotted leaving the building carrying documents after a janitor let her in.

"Well we're taking it very seriously," said Kent Donahue, assistant to city manager.

The city manager sent Barnhardt a letter reprimanding her and telling her she was unauthorized to remove anything from the office, particularly while the city is being audited.

Barnhardt's attorney sent a letter to the city saying the only thing she took from the office was a suspension letter. She and another employee were suspended with pay. No charges have been filed against her.

Because of a wrong numerical input in the computer system, customers in Daytona Beach Shores were undercharged more than $800,000. Some customers were overcharged $200,000 since 2009.

The city also learned meter readers were reading the wrong meters in the Spruce Creek Fly in community resulting in customers being overcharged $500,000.

"I think our council is looking to mend some fences here and keep a positive
relationship with our customers," Donahue said.

City officials said they have three independent audits going on to determine how the errors happened. They also have checks and balances in place now to prevent it from happening again.

Copyright 2012 by ClickOrlando.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.