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Potsdam court clerk fired over suspected missing money

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POTSDAM — Town officials have confirmed that Mary Jo Guyette, the Town Court clerk who was quietly suspended with pay in June, has been fired.

Ms. Guyette initially was suspended over suspicions about an unspecified amount of missing money. She has not been on the payroll since Sept. 11, according to town Supervisor Marie C. Regan.

Details are still sparse. Town Justices James A. Mason and Samuel R. Charleson could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

State police seized computers from the court for a state comptroller’s investigation that is still ongoing.

“They’re still doing their investigation, but they said that they were finding problems and we no longer had to pay her,” Ms. Regan said.

State police also are involved in the investigation.

“There’s nothing new in the state police investigation, I can tell you that,” said Investigator Timothy J. Peets of the Canton barracks, directing further questions to Mrs. Regan.

Officials have been tight-lipped about the suspension and ongoing investigation. They have not disclosed how much money is missing or when any discrepancies were discovered. The suspension was not made public at first, and officials kept the firing under wraps for several weeks.

Ms. Regan said she has wanted to keep the situation out of the spotlight under the assumption that Ms. Guyette, a town employee of 13 years, is innocent until proven guilty.

“My heart goes out to her, but that does not excuse her if there’s malfeasance,” she said.

Ms. Regan consulted with the judges and made the decision to fire Ms. Guyette when the comptroller’s investigation stretched on longer than expected.When asked for clarification several weeks ago, Mr. Mason said he could not comment until the matter has been resolved.

“Until that investigation’s done, I can’t say anything. I don’t know anything, and I haven’t been told anything,” he said.

Criminal charges have not been filed thus far.

Ms. Regan said she cannot go into further details until the investigation is complete.

“I’m not going to go out and crucify this person until I have all the details,” she said.

Ms. Guyette could not be reached for comment.

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