Tracy city manager under fire for misusing funds

The Tracy city manager is under fire for misusing tax payers dollars to pay for his own personal bills.

City Manager Leon Churchill apologetically admitted to using taxpayer money to charge thousands of dollars on city-issued credit cards for personal matters.

"I'm deeply and sincerely sorry for the mistakes and distraction that this caused government and various individuals in the community," Churchill said before Tuesday night's city council meeting.

"This is our town, these are our tax dollars. Someone has to stand up and do something about it," Tracy business owner David Helm said.

Helm dug up documents that showed where Churchill used the credit cards over the past years. The list included personal expenses for hotel stays with his family members, a dentist and a veterinarian.

"In one month, the city manager had almost $3,000 in expenses to include a veterinarian clinic," Helm said.

After Helm presented his findings to the council, the city manager then publicaly acknowledged what he'd done.

News 10 tried to speak with Churchill at his house, but nobody answered the door Friday night.

Using the cards for personal expenses goes against city policy. Churchill told the council he reimbursed the city within days of the charges.

"There's no concern, at least on my part, that it was a criminal act that Mr. Churchill was ever trying to defraud the city," Tracy Mayor pro tem Michael Maciel said.

Maciel said the city is reprimanding Churchill for his actions, but he will stay on the job.

"He's made some off the field mistakes, and we have and will continue to hold him accountable," Maciel said.

According to Maciel, Churchill has lost all privileges to use any city-issued credit cards, will forgo a salary increase in 2014 and was suspended for one week.

But that's not enough for some residents who think Churchill is getting away with just a slap on the wrist.


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