Liberty County is without a school superintendent Wednesday. Gloria Uzzell was suspended form her duties by Governor Rick Scott after she was arrested and now faces multiple charges.
Residents say it's more negative publicity the small Liberty county community doesn't need.
"It's just kinda sad, but something we gotta deal with right now," said Liberty County resident, Raleigh Brinson.
Less than two months after Liberty County Sheriff Nick Finch was arrested and suspended from office, another newly elected official is in trouble.
"School is going to start back up soon and we need a superintendent," said Brinson.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Liberty County School Superintendent Gloria Uzzell opened a credit card in the name of the school board without their knowledge. Investigators say she made multiple personal purchases,totaling more than $2,000 on clothing, lingerie, lodging, and alcohol.
"It throws me for a loop she could do something like that," said Amanda King who lives in Liberty County.
King says Uzzell was once her Vice Principal and a role model to her when she attended W.R. Tolar K-8 School.
"She set a great example," explained King. "She always told us just to stay strong, stay faithful, and always stay honest to everybody, and she kinda needs to look back on it."
Uzzell faces two felony charges which are grand theft and official misconduct by a public official, in addition to a misdemeanor charge of withholding documents in a public records request.
"Our kids are our future, and I'm concerned about that," said Brinson.
Uzzell turned herself into the Liberty County Sheriff's Office earlier this afternoon where she later bailed out. Her arraignment is set for next month. The State Attorney's Office, 2nd Judicial Circuit will prosecute this case.
The superintendent of schools in Liberty County turns herself in on two felony counts following an investigation into misuse of a school district credit card.
According to the Liberty County Sheriff Walter "Buddy" Money, Gloria (Gay) Uzzell turned herself in to the Liberty County jail at just before 1:00 p.m. Wednesday. Uzzell faces two felony charges; grand theft, and official misconduct by a public official. She is also being charged with a misdemeanor count of withholding public documents.
Uzzell came under fire in June when Liberty County School Board Chairman Kyle Peddie produced a report showing she used a district credit card for personal use. Charges from March and April included hotel stays, a shopping spree at Pier Park and alcohol.
Peddie said the bank told him Uzzell opened up account. He also said in the June meeting that the card was maxed out with more than $12,000 in charges, some of them work-related.
Money said that the State Attorney's Office in Quincy is handling the investigation and that his office was charged with booking Uzzell. She posted bond on the two felony counts and was released. Money said that Uzzell's arraignment date is scheduled for August 5th.
This afternoon, Governor Rick Scott suspended Uzzell as the Liberty County Superintendent, until further notice.
This is the second newly elected public official in Liberty County to be arrested this year. The Sheriff, Nick Finch, is facing a charge of official misconduct after FDLE agents say he released a man from jail that was arrested for a weapons charge. Finch maintains he was protecting 2nd Amendment rights.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tallahassee Regional Operations Center and State Attorney Willie Meggs obtained a warrant for the arrest of Gloria Gay Uzzell, 51, of Bristol, Fla., earlier today on one count of grand theft, one count of official misconduct and one count of failing to disclose information in a public records request.
The investigation shows Uzzell opened a credit card in the name of the Liberty County School Board without its approval or knowledge. Investigators allege she made numerous personal purchases on the Visa card including clothing, lodging, lingerie, fuel, beauty supplies and alcohol.
Investigators believe Uzzell altered the credit card statements, blacking out personal purchases and changing travel vouchers to match her credit card purchases. She is accused of making more than $2,000 in personal charges on the credit card.
Uzzell turned herself into the Liberty County Sheriff's Office around 1 p.m. today and was booked into the Liberty County Jail on a $10,000 bond. Uzzell was elected as Liberty County School Superintendent in November 2012.
The State Attorney's Office, 2nd Judicial Circuit will prosecute this case.