Lincoln County Treasurer Lorie Koertner was removed from office Monday afternoon, after the county commissioners met with law enforcement and county attorneys for nearly three hours in closed session.
When the commissioners returned to open session, they unanimously voted to immediately remove Koertner. Sheriff Jerome Kramer and Chief Deputy Roland Kramer promptly escorted her out of the courthouse.
The commissioners said Koertner was removed “for neglecting or refusing to render any account or settlement required by law, and… failing to account for any balance due the state, county, township, school district or any other municipal subdivision.”
No specific shortfalls were mentioned, but there were apparently shortfalls in tax receipts due to the North Platte school district, as well as other unspecified governing bodies.
Deputy Lincoln County Treasurer Jennifer Hergenrader was also removed from office.
At the commissioners’ request, the Nebraska state auditor will send an accountant from the capital to perform an attestation / localized audit of treasurer’s records. That process is expected to begin Wednesday.
Former County Treasurer Sue Fleck will take over an interim county treasurer until a qualified successor is elected or appointed, the commissioners said.
Questions and concerns about the treasurer’s practices came to the commissioners’ attention during the last couple months, Chairman Joe Hewgley told the news media after the board voted.
Hewgley said there is no reason to suspect criminal wrongdoing yet. A courthouse insider said it would take time to consider the evidence and gather it. Some speculate that Koertner got in over her head and wasn’t prepared for the complexities of Lincoln County, one of the largest counties in Nebraska.
Koertner was elected in the May 2018 primary after a spirited campaign against Michelle Gurciullo, a 24-year employee of the motor vehicle division of the treasurer’s office.
Koertner is a former treasurer of Webster County. She worked in the Webster County office for 19 years.
Koertner’s work was accurate and above-board in Webster County, Webster County Clerk Liz Petsch told the Bulletin Monday afternoon. Petsch said she has worked for Webster County for more than 32 years.
Fleck announced her retirement more than a year ago and did not seek re-election. Koertner officially took over in January.
According to state law, a county board is authorized to remove a county treasurer for the reasons stated in the board’s resolution.