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Balcones Heights supervisor who used city funds to pay electric bill forced to resign

Daphne Morales, 53, will not face criminal charges

BALCONES HEIGHTS, Texas – Discipline records released by Balcones Heights confirm the city's lead dispatcher resigned in lieu of termination in late March, after confessing to using money collected from the owner of an impounded vehicle to pay her personal electric bill.

Daphne Morales, 53, at first denied keeping the money when questioned by a Balcones Heights police lieutenant before admitting that she took $285 and used a portion of it because "they were going to cut my lights off."

Morales resigned on March 24 in lieu of being terminated.

Employment records show Morales worked in the city's dispatch department for 10 years and was promoted to dispatch supervisor in October 2013.

Morales was paid more than $41,000 a year, according to city finance records.

"We can't have somebody in a position, a supervisory position, that is lacking in integrity," Balcones Heights Police Chief Darrell Volz said.

Morales, who at first said she had accidentally left the cash on her desk, confessed to taking it home with her after a Balcones Heights lieutenant told her that her desk had already been searched.

She returned the money and the completed packet several days after it was supposed to be turned in.

Morales, when questioned at her front door by the KSAT 12 Defenders, at first denied taking the money before acknowledging that she used $60 "one time" to pay a bill.

While questioned by police, however, Morales told an investigator, "I always keep it good, I was in a situation."

The department's investigation of Morales determined she could no longer be trusted to receive or handle city currency.

The violation came despite safeguards in place that include impound money and receipts being kept in a safe and the packets being handed over to the city finance department daily.

Volz said the changes were implemented over a year ago after he noticed that money collected from the impound lot was kept in an unsecured plastic bin, often for weeks at a time, before being turned over.

He said the department does not plan to file theft charges against Morales.

"The outcome we were looking for was achieved, and we didn't have to create her any additional harm," said Volz.

Volz said that if a larger sum of money had been involved or if the missing funds had not been returned, the department would have pursued criminal charges against Morales.

It may be difficult for her to find another position in police telecommunications, however. Volz said the department refused to grant her an honorable discharge.

He said if he is contacted by another agency about her, he will share the findings of the investigation.

"We're held to a higher standard and we understand that. Without any hesitation, I would let them know exactly what it was that happened here," Volz said.

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