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Troy taxpayers have been paying the cellphone bill of former town employee

Troy taxpayers have been paying the cellphone bill of former town employee

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff
| Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 12:00 pm

TROY — During the past two months, local taxpayers have footed at least one cellphone bill for a former town employee facing embezzlement charges.

Now selectmen are asking the former employee, Cynthia P. Satas, to reimburse the town after discovering the problem about two weeks ago.

They say Troy has been incorrectly covering the expense after officials fired Satas in December, and take full responsibility for not noticing the problem sooner.

The number attached to the cellphone is listed in the town’s 2012 and 2013 annual reports as being the number to call to contact the town’s welfare administrator, which was one of Satas’ positions.

She also served as administrative assistant to the selectmen.

She held both positions for years.

“We thought it had been taken care of,” Selectmen Chairman William T. “Tom” Matson said during the board’s meeting Monday night, of the cellphone issue. “With all the different things going on here, it just simply slipped by. It’s just like missing a credit card payment.”

The selectmen terminated Satas’ employment as administrative assistant on Dec. 8, the day N.H. State Police arrested her on allegations she embezzled thousands of dollars from the town.

The welfare officer is an elected position, which the selectmen have no control over, however the board is looking for a person to fill the post.

“Both of us signed all the invoices, so there was no collusion,” Matson said, referring to himself and Selectman Gideon L. Nadeau Sr. “Both of us had full access to the budget. We could have stopped it, but we didn’t.”

Troy’s third selectmen, Robert J. Kemp Jr. resigned last month.

Nadeau made a motion during the board’s meeting Monday to have an invoice sent to Satas from the town for the two months worth of charges on the phone. Matson seconded the motion, which passed.

Matson said he didn’t know exactly how much the cellphone bill was, but guessed it was $50, or $60 per month.

“I don’t know why you’re asking this” he said to a reporter. “We lose more in salt off the trucks.”

The Sentinel has emailed Right-To-Know requests to Matson and Nadeau seeking the December 2014, January 2015 and February 2015 bills for the account assigned to Satas’ cell phone.

The request also asks for records indicating when the bills were received and paid, the account or accounts they were billed to, and who signed the checks to pay those bills.

The selectmen tasked Nadeau with finding out if the cellphone is owned by the town, and if so, having Satas turn it in.

A call to the phone number Monday afternoon indicated it has been disconnected.

Satas, 63, has been charged with theft by unauthorized taking and theft by misapplication of property, both class A felonies, and fraudulent use of a uniform facsimile signature of a public official, a class B felony. Prosecutors allege Satas paid utility bills for her Richmond Road home and for rental properties she owns in Troy and Peterborough using Troy town funds between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 8, 2014.

They also allege she fraudulently used a facsimile of town treasurer Janet L. McCullough’s signature on or about Dec. 26, 2011, to sign a check.

The case is pending in Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene.