Ex-Olympia Farmers Market manager accused of embezzling $159,000

A shopper walks through the Olympia Farmers Market, Thursday, April 2, 2015.
A shopper walks through the Olympia Farmers Market, Thursday, April 2, 2015. Staff photographer

The former Olympia Farmers Market manager faces theft charges in Thurston County Superior Court after allegedly embezzling $159,000 from the market.

Charlene R. Haney, 59, is charged with one count of first-degree theft. She was arraigned Tuesday, and entered a not guilty plea to the charge. Her trial date was set for Jan. 25.

Haney retired from the Olympia Farmers Market in September 2014, said Mary DiMatteo, community outreach manager for the market. When current operations manager Bryce Dazell took over, he noticed some accounting irregularities.

According to court documents, market officials contacted the Olympia Police Department in January and reported the alleged embezzlement.

During her time as market manager, Haney had the responsibility of managing the payroll and preparing paychecks. An accountant determined that between 2004 and 2013, Haney paid herself for 635 vacation days when market policy would have allowed Haney to have been paid for 300 vacation days during that period, according to court documents. The overpayment totaled $159,000.

At the time, market employees could accrue 30 vacation days each year, and were unable to carry over remaining days.

DiMatteo said market management isn’t aware of any other problems stemming from Haney’s time as manager.

“Our market is recovering very well,” DiMatteo said. “We have a really bright future ahead of us here.”

The Olympia Farmers Market recently switched to its fall schedule. In November and December, the market operates from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Amelia Dickson: 360-754-5445