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May 23, 2014

Merced College fires employee under investigation

The Merced College Board of Trustees voted Friday to terminate the contract of a school employee who has been under investigation for embezzlement. The board voted unanimously to end the employment of Joseph Bisinger, 47, of Atwater, as the college’s lead purchasing buyer.

During a special meeting Friday, the Merced College Board of Trustees voted to terminate the contract of a school employee who has been under investigation in the possible misappropriation of money.

After a recommendation from the college’s administration, the board voted unanimously to end the employment contract of Joseph Bisinger, 47, of Atwater. As Merced College’s lead purchasing buyer, he was in charge of dealing with vendors and purchasing supplies for the campus, according to the college.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Department confirmed in April that Bisinger was being investigated for fraud and embezzlement. The Sheriff’s Department turned over the findings from its investigation to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office, said Deputy Delray Shelton, a sheriff’s spokesman.

The District Attorney’s office confirmed it received the report from the Sheriff’s Department but has not finished reviewing it and has not filed charges.

Bisinger did not attend Friday’s meeting of the board of trustees. He has been on leave from the campus since April 1.

Merced College hired an auditing firm to go through the school’s books to determine the extent of money missing. President Ron Taylor has declined to give an amount the college may have lost because the internal investigation is continuing, but he described the sum as “significant.”

A regular yearly audit conducted last year did not catch any misconduct in the college’s Purchasing Department. The findings of that audit were presented to the board at the Jan. 7 meeting.

Taylor said Bisinger had worked for the college since 2007. As lead purchasing buyer, he made $48,300 annually.

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