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Officials covering county auditor's office

La Salle County officials are working to keep auditing procedures running in the wake of criminal charges against auditor's office employees.

Deputy county auditors Tori L. Artman, 44, Mendota, and Pamela Wright, 54, Ottawa, were charged Sept. 25 with taking $1,358.88 and $1,672.86 respectively in overtime pay for work they did not do, according to prosecutors.

Auditor Jody Wilkinson is not charged, but the charges against Artman and Wright said the pair conspired to commit a theft and "agreed with the county auditor, Jody Wilkinson, and other unknown as of yet co-conspirators, to the commission of that offense."

Wilkinson and her two deputies remained on the job until Oct. 2, when the county board barred the three women from county premises. The trio are not doing work for the county, but are continuing to draw pay.

At Thursday's county board meeting, Chairman Jerry Hicks said the treasurer and other county offices are working to cover for the absence of Wilkinson and her deputies, with accountants to be brought in to run the office. Hicks added a technology firm is also helping officials operate the auditor's office computers.

"It's not easy, but we've got a handle on it," Hicks said.

Artman's next court hearing is Friday, Nov. 16. Wright's first hearing was Thursday, at which her next hearing was set for Friday, Jan. 18. Both women's cases were originally assigned to Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr., but they had the cases switched to Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia.

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