Former Hector city administrator pleads to reduced theft charge
OLIVIA — The former city administrator for the city of Hector pleaded guilty Friday to an amended charge of gross misdemeanor theft by false representation for falsely claiming more than $7,000 in expenses in 2012.
According to Renville County Attorney David Torgelson, Barbara Hoyhtya, 60, of Hector, was sentenced to 30 days of electronic home monitoring, with 335 days of jail time stayed, plus a $500 fine which can be paid through community service work.
Hoyhtya was also ordered to cooperate with probation to take part in restorative justice meetings with the victim, in this case, city officials and citizens.
During the sentencing hearing, the issue of restitution, specifically the city’s nearly $20,000 in additional auditing costs and legal bills, was stayed by District Judge Randall Slieter.Torgelson noted that Hoyhtya has paid back the city the $7,160 she stole.Hoyhtya had served as administrator in Hector for approximately six years prior to resigning in June in the midst of an audit of the city’s finances. Prior to her position in Hector, Hoyhtya had been city administrator in Canby. She lost her position there in May 2007 when the council voted 3-2 to terminate her contract.A large portion of the reimbursement claims were for mileage and travel expenses. Hoyhtya claimed to have traveled to Moorhead, West Fargo, N.D., and Fergus Falls to meet with an engineer regarding a project. The engineer reported that he had met with the administrator, but at locations in Willmar, Buffalo Lake or Hector on those occasions.She was originally charged with two felony counts of theft by false representation and embezzlement of public funds.
Tribune staff writer Tom Cherveny contributed to this report.