The way they tell it at Judy’s Country Curl, Brenda Simmons was nice enough, but she hadn’t done much in her 22 years as city clerk of Menlo, Iowa.

The Country Curl crowd couldn’t have known how wrong they were. From 2001 through 2013, Simmons spent $82,893.51 of the taxpayer’s money padding her salary and adding her husband to her town-funded health insurance coverage, according to a new report from the Iowa State Auditor’s Office.

Simmons may face criminal charges for her actions. The auditor’s office sent copies of its report to the Guthrie County Attorney’s Office, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the State Attorney General’s Office.

Simmons resigned her post in this rural Guthrie County community of 350 residents May 1, 2013, after having misled former Mayor Doug O’Brien about the amount she was paying for her insurance.

“I’m shocked to hear this,” Judy Murphy, owner of Judy’s Country Curl, said after Iowa Watchdog told her what the state auditor found. “People knew there was some sort of problem and that’s why they got rid of Brenda, but we all thought it was some little thing.”

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