Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

February 12, 2013

Ward trial delayed

MATT MILNER
Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — The former director of the Ottumwa Transit Authority has had her federal trial pushed back by three months.

Pam Ward had been scheduled for trial next month on charges that she made false statements on grant applications while head of Ottumwa's transit department. The new trial date is in June.

The defense cited the sheer volume of the documents involved in the case as the primary reason for the delay. The request said thorough review of the documents "could result in the necessity of further investigation and interview of additional potential witnesses in preparation for trial."

Prosecutors did not oppose the delay.

Ward was fired in May 2011 after state auditors released a critical report on the Ottumwa Transit Authority. The report included allegations of tampering with driver timesheets and inflation of ridership numbers. The latter allegation is the crux of the federal case against Ward.

The city took over OTA following Ward's termination, making it into a department subject to the city council rather than an independent entity. That also led to the organization's name changing to Ottumwa Transit.

Ward's attorneys first raised the issue of getting all the documents they sought in a January filing.