Delaware County officials on Wednesday confirmed the arrest of the former Delhi village clerk.
Michele C. Barnes, 43, of Walton, was charged with third-degree grand larceny following an investigation by the state Comptroller’s Office and the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, according to Delaware County District Attorney John Hubbard.
Barnes was arrested Sept. 30 by state police and released on her own recognizance, according to arrest records. She was arraigned the following day in the Delhi Town Court.
Between December 2017 and October 2018, Barnes allegedly made out four checks from the village account to herself, totaling $4,788, according to Hubbard.
Village Mayor Richard Maxey said discrepancies in the village’s financial records were discovered during a routine audit by the state comptroller’s office, which notified village officials in June.
Additional charges may be pending as the comptroller’s office compiles an official report, Maxey said, which may take 30 to 60 days.
Maxey attributed Barnes’ “abrupt” resignation in July to the allegations stemming from the audit. Barnes was replaced as village clerk by Kimberly Cairns, former deputy village clerk, in a Sept. 9 appointment by the Delhi Village Board of Trustees.
“We’re all highly disappointed and shocked,” Maxey said. “Shelly was my right-hand man,” he said before correcting himself to say “right-hand girl.”
Maxey confirmed Barnes formerly worked for the Delaware County District Attorney’s office under Richard Northrup Jr., who now serves as Delaware County Judge — a factor Maxey said the comptroller’s office is considering as it compiles its case against Barnes.
Because Barnes was formerly employed by the district attorney’s office, Hubbard said he requested the appointment of a special prosecutor.
The village filed a claim with its insurance agency, Maxey said, because village clerk is a bonded position.
“It’s all very unfortunate, and we’ve had no explanation or anything,” Maxey said. “It’s a sad day for the village.”
Barnes is scheduled to reappear in the Delhi Town Court on Nov. 19, according to Hubbard.
Editor's note: Kimberly Cairns is married to Robert Cairns, managing editor of The Daily Star.
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at email@example.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.