Two dollars a month can go a long way if there are enough people from whom to steal. That was the case of Lincy Estelle Merritt, who served for three and a half years as treasurer of a school employees’ union in Northern California. Merritt, 45, recently was charged with embezzling $8,744.16 from Local 98 of the California School Employees Association, which represents about 500 bus drivers, custodians and other employees of the Tracy Unified School District. She’d taken the money on or about August 4, 2006, local prosecutors charge. The defendant has pleaded not guilty, and is scheduled to return to court on Tuesday, July 17.
Union officials did not specify how Merritt took the money, but acknowledge that the sum took a bite out of union finances. “To us, this is a lot of money,” said local president and bus driver Denise Cheeseman. “To be a local chapter member is only $2 a month. For someone to steal that amount of money, that hits us really hard.” Merritt remains at her job as a bus driver for the Tracy school system, where she has worked since 1990. (Inside Bay Area, 6/22/07).