The Birch Bay Water and Sewer District (BBWSD) treasurer who stole $469,000 from the district has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Glenn Golay was formally sentenced the morning of August 11 after pleading guilty to nine counts of first-degree theft. In addition to the prison term, Golay will have to repay the money he stole from the district.
Whatcom County prosecuting attorney James Hulbert recommended Golay’s three-year sentence to the judge.
“Everything went as planned,” Hulbert said.
Golay was originally charged with 16 counts of first-degree theft, but Hulbert said he agreed to dismiss seven charges in exchange for the guilty plea. The Washington State Department of Corrections will determine to which state prison Golay will be sent.
The BBWSD will be covered for the amount that was lost, minus a $5,000 deductible, through the Washington State Water and Sewer Risk Management Pool, district general manager Roger Brown said. While the district was not involved much in the case after Golay was arrested in February, Brown said he thinks the prosecution handled the case well.
“I hope it serves as a deterrent against doing anything like this by anyone else in the public trust,” Brown said.
Golay used a now-abolished district travel reimbursement account, which was not supposed to contain more than $2,000, to transfer between $37,000 and $80,000 per year to his personal bank and credit card accounts over the past seven years, according to court documents. Golay wrote checks to himself, his wife, his church and a number of different credit card companies and banks. None of the checks, which varied in amount from $1,000 to $8,000, had district board of commissioner’s approval.
After Golay’s arrest, district officials began discussions on how to tighten the district’s financial controls. Brown hired Meredith Riley as an interim finance director to oversee the changes, but a full-time treasurer will be hired after Riley’s two-year term expires. Riley will not be eligible for the treasurer position.
Golay, a certified public accountant, had been the water and sewer district’s treasurer for 23 years. After Brown fired him, Golay admitted to investigators that he had a problem with spending and an inability to manage his credit card debt.
“He said he had a problem with spending, but the real problem was with stealing,” Brown said. “There’s no law against spending.”
Brown said he had no inkling that Golay had been doing anything illegal.
“It was a shock to everyone,” he added.