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Published: Saturday, 4/30/2005

City worker suspended in billing probe

A Toledo city utilities department employee has been suspended from her job without pay after being accused of altering her own water and sewer account, city officials said yesterday.

Linda Pfeifer, a 17-year employee, was notified of a series of administrative charges, including theft in office, on Wednesday.

Among the charges are that she altered city records to her own financial benefit and impersonated a meter reader to obtain the reading on her water meter.

Ms. Pfeifer, 56, of North Toledo, is a senior clerk in utility administration and was hired in 1987. Her salary is $34,638 a year.

Ms. Pfeifer had a hearing Thursday, but the case remains under investigation.

She did not return a call to her home yesterday seeking comment.

She also is charged with gross misconduct, implicating other employees, and conduct unbecoming a city employee.

Robert Stevenson, the city's director of public utilities, yesterday declined to elaborate on the charges or estimate the amount of money Ms. Pfeifer is accused of stealing, saying that's the purpose of the investigation.

"We're checking all the records. There is a trail of when anything is done on the computer system," Mr. Stevenson said.

He said the matter was discovered in-house.

Ms. Pfeifer's job is customer service, which involves checking and sometimes adjusting residents' water and sewer bills.

The average residential utility bill is about $70 a quarter, Mr. Stevenson said.

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