Former Skamania County auditor's hearing delayed

He may face jail time for not completing community service requirements

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A hearing for a former Skamania County auditor accused of violating terms of his probation has been delayed until March 21.

John Michael Garvison, who pleaded guilty Oct. 25 to shredding public documents, may face jail time for failing to complete the 168 hours of community service required under his probation.

Garvison, 41, of Oregon City, Ore., appeared today in front of Clark County Superior Court Judge David Gregerson to request that his hearing be delayed until March 21. The case is being handled in Clark County to avoid a conflict of interest. The delay allows for Garvison to appear before the judge who originally sentenced him, Judge Barbara Johnson.

He will be expected to explain why he hasn't completed his community service.

His probation officer, Jamie Hepner, has recommended that he serve 21 days in jail in lieu of community service.

Garvison is required to complete 20 hours of community service per month in Skamania County until he reaches the 168-hour mark.

According to Hepner:

Garvison fulfilled his obligation in November. He checked in once at 10:27 a.m. Dec. 29 for community service in December but never checked back out, so it's unclear how many hours he worked. In January, he didn't show up at all, and last month, he completed only eight out of the 20 required hours.

Garvison declined a request by The Columbian for an interview today.

During his brief appearance Thursday, Garvison wore a cast on his left arm. His aunt, Beth Garvison, told The Columbian earlier this month that she had heard Garvison recently injured his shoulder or bicep. She hasn't been in contact with him and said he owes her and her husband money.

She said he works at Oregon City's 3D Electrical Services Inc. and lives with a cousin. His LinkedIn profile says he is operations manager at an electrical contractor.

As part of his guilty plea, Garvison admitted that between Jan. 1, 2009, and Feb. 28, 2009, he ordered his staff to destroy the records showing his expenditures in 2003 and 2004.In addition to community service, Garvison was required to pay Skamania County $62,000 in restitution and is not allowed to serve in a governmental finance management position again.

Garvison was originally investigated on suspicion of using thousands of dollars in public money for unauthorized travel, education and office equipment expenses during four years as the county's elected auditor.

The unauthorized expenses included 13 out-of-state trips, including two conferences in Florida and one in Las Vegas.

He resigned his position in November 2009 after news of the unauthorized expenses broke.

The state Attorney General's Office and the Skamania County Sheriff's Office investigated the possibility of theft or embezzlement charges but apparently didn't have enough evidence.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts;http://facebook.com/ColTrends;paris.achen@columbian.com.