Pulaski County has fired its emergency medical services director, over concerns that she used county money on personal expenses. The county commissioners voted unanimously Monday to terminate the employment of Nikki Lowry, effective immediately.
Reading from a prepared statement, County Attorney Kevin Tankersley explained that the firing stemmed from a complaint about the possible misappropriation of money from the county’s EMS Training Fund. “In an effort to determine the facts, the commissioners, under their executive power, undertook an investigation into the department,” Tankersley said. “In order to be thorough and fair, we did not conduct the investigation ourselves. The investigation was completed by Officer Fred Rogers who works with the FBI, as well as the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, and has experience with this type of investigation. A written report of the investigation was received by the commissioners on October 24 and presented by Officer Rogers at an executive session on October 30.”
At that point, Tankersley said, the commissioners discussed the issue with Lowry and then suspended her, pending formal action. “The report showed county funds had been used on personal expenses by Nikki Lowry. The report also revealed several county policy violations by the department under Lowry’s direction. Arrangements were discussed with Lowry to repay the funds expended inappropriately. The Auditor’s Office will address any tax consequences of the expenditures and report the income to Lowry.”
Tankersley also said the commissioners wanted to be as forthcoming as possible about the incident, without compromising the privacy of those involved. “The issue involved the employer/employee relationship, which falls within the executive power of this board,” he explained. “We have also been vigilant in protecting the taxpayers of this county from mismanagement of one of their service departments. It would be unfair and unwise for the executive to make public every detail about an employee issue. The portions of the report that are subject to the Indiana Open Door Law will be made available, and we hope this addresses some of the concerns of the Pulaski County taxpayers.”
During Monday’s meeting, the commissioners also voted to advertise for a new EMS director, once they review the current job description and consider what qualifications they want.