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No Charges After Former Arts Council Director Pays Back Missing Funds

Arts Council Agrees Not To Prosecute, Seeks To Move On

No charges will be filed against Sarah Morgan Tolbert, the former director of the Arts Council of Mercer County, after she paid back funds that had gone missing.

Jennifer Marsh

Herald Staff

The Arts Council of Mercer County will not prosecute former Executive Director Sarah Morgan Tolbert after Tolbert paid back missing funds.

Tolbert was fired on Monday, April 22, after donors and artists expressed concerns about financial discrepancies.

Following Tolbert’s dismissal, an investigation was launched by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office. The investigating officer, Dep. Wes Gaddis, said Tolbert agreed to make restitution but has not admitted to any wrongdoing.

“The former employee, without admitting guilt, paid back the $1,880.23 on Thursday, May 2,” Gaddis said.

The Arts Council of Mercer County has declined to prosecute after restitution was paid.

“We cannot adequately express our gratitude that Sarah was willing to pay the Council for all of the unauthorized charges so that we can all move on and put this behind us,” said Gemma Zieglar, the past president of the board of directors. “We are also implementing policies for how transactions are entered in the system to better document the sales. We will require a daily cash out and reconciliation so that the treasurer can match all revenue with the bank statements and payouts to the artists.”

The board is putting  other new policies in place to prevent future infractions as well, Zieglar said.

“While the board is happy to settle this incident, we must look forward and put policies in place to avoid this from happening again,” said Mike Culligan, board treasurer.  “We will mandate that every board meeting we review and approve the bank statements and checks to be written.  Future directors may not be on the signature card at the bank and we are questioning the need for a debit card.”

For more information on the Arts Council of Mercer County, visit their website at

Find the rest of the story on page 1A of this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald or click here to subscribe.

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