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Columbus suspends city worker charged in theft from code inspectors’ association

Marsha Jean Thomas
Marsha Jean Thomas

The Columbus city worker accused of taking more than $12,000 from the code inspectors’ association she was treasurer of has been suspended without pay, authorities said Thursday.

Marsha Jean Thomas, 37, turned herself in at police headquarters on Tuesday, when she was charged with theft by deception for allegedly taking $12,671.18 from the West Georgia Inspectors Association, according to her arrest report. The thefts occurred between June 1 and Nov. 1, police said.

Thomas is an inspection services coordinator making $35,310 a year, according to Reather Hollowell, the city human resources director who Thursday said Thomas has been suspended. Thomas has worked for the city government since Oct. 4, 2010, Hollowell said.

Investigators said Thomas, as treasurer of the inspectors’ organization, had access to a credit card she used for her own personal expenses. The association for area inspectors offers specialized training to help them maintain their certification and offers college scholarships for members’ children.

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John Hudgison, president of the association, and Robert Smith, the vice president, reported the theft, authorities said. Thomas turned herself in about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Public Safety Center, and later was released on $13,000 bond, according to police and Muscogee County Jail records. She waived her Recorder’s Court hearing at 9 a.m. Thursday, so the case will go to Superior Court.

Thomas works at Columbus’ 420 10th St. Government Center Annex, where she twice was involved in affairs with supervisors, according to city records the Ledger-Enquirer obtained in 2015, after then-Deputy City Manager David Arrington retired on short notice. Personnel files revealed he’d had an affair with Thomas while he was interim director of inspections and codes.

The records revealed also that Thomas had an earlier affair with an inspections and codes assistant director, before he left the department in April 2012.