At a special called meeting, Tuesday, the Payne Springs City Council voted to end the employment of City Secretary Karen Juica who had been arrested last month along with her husband for abuse of office and forgery.
Juica, 59, had been with the city for several years and had served as city judge prior to taking that position. Her husband Michael Steven Juica, 66, was a member of the city council and had supervised the maintenance of vehicles.
On Sept. 10, as a result of a multi-agency investigation, 392nd District Court Judge Scott McKee issued search warrants for Payne Springs City Hall and a residence. Police Chief April Meadows gave authorities documents pertaining to the case. Among those were receipts and purchase orders for auto parts that did not match any of the city’s vehicles.
On Sept. 14, the council conducted an emergency meeting in which Karen Juica was discussed in executive session. Council voted to place her on paid administrative leave until further notice. Her name was removed from all financial depository accounts and replaced byMayor Pro-Tem Andrea Miller.
According to a press release from Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse, the Juicas were arrested on Sept. 17 after an investigation involving the Texas Comptroller, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and Henderson County Attorney Clint Davis. Hillhouse said the investigation was ongoing.
At the meeting on Tuesday, the council went into executive session to discuss the matter. Following a short time behind closed doors, the council members returned and announced the decision to terminate Karen Juica.
According to the Payne Springs website the city secretary provides several functions for the city. Among those is handling administrative details and actions for the impound lot and ensuring that all city expenditures are appropriate and properly documented.