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James L. White/Staff

Court Appointed Special Advocates of North Arkansas director Tracie Pape (second from right) talks with CASA board members (from left) Becky Greenwood, Allison Green and Paige Hurd prior to a Friday morning board meeting.

The Court Appoint Special Advocates of North Arkansas, or CASA, met Friday morning and began the process of straightening out financial matters after the firing of a former director over allegations of misusing agency funds.

Katie Danielle Rylee, 31, in September, pleaded not guilty to charges of theft of property, tampering with physical evidence, obtaining a signature by deception, falsifying business records, possession of a forgery device and three counts of forgery, Boone County Circuit Court records show.

Rylee’s employment with CASA was terminated July 26. Some allegations against her were for misuse of an agency debit card.

Tracie Pape, who had worked for CASA when Rylee was director, was named director of the agency.

Board president Chonda Tapley said the board needed to add Pape on the Equity Bank account. She also said the board needed to issue a debit card for that account in Pape’s name.

But Tapley said all charges on the debit card will now be fully documented with receipts and pre-approved. She had earlier said the agency will only use those debit cards until Equity Bank is able to issue credit cards because they are easier to monitor.

Pape said she doesn’t feel comfortable carrying the agency debit card, leaving it locked in her desk instead.

She said she would be most comfortable buying incidental items with her own debit card, then submit them to the agency for reimbursement. In addition, she said it’s been her experience that doing that tends to limit what people buy.

Pape also submitted a set of financial controls to be adopted as policy for the agency. They were to be transmitted to each board member by email so they could review them prior to the next board meeting.

Tapley said United Way of Boone County is holding the $6,000 grant for CASA until the board gets such policies in place.

Tapley read a message from United Way that said the agency would revisit the matter of dispersing funds to CASA when that board meets Tuesday, Nov. 5.

“I think that’s more than fair on their part,” said board member Matt Bell, who attended the meeting by telephone.

Rachel Freeman said the board will need to have a special meeting to adopt those financial controls before the United Way board meets.

The CASA board will also amend bylaws regarding several items that haven’t been addressed in the past.

There was no date set for the special meeting.

Rylee was scheduled to re-appear in court Friday, Nov. 15.

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