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      Embattled transit director gets new trial date

      The federal government wants another crack at Pam Ward.

      An order signed by Chief Judge James E. Gritzner says that the retrial of the former Ottumwa Transit Director on four counts of lying to government officials will commence on September 3 of this year.

      The judge had originally wanted the retrial to start July 8, but attorneys for Ward and the government agreed that they would not be ready to proceed that quickly.

      A jury could not reach a verdict in Ward's first trial, a week long affair that ended on June 10.

      During the first trial, prosecutors contended that Ward lied to U.S. Department of Transportation officials about ridership numbers in order to secure federal funding for O.T.A.

      The defense argued Ward used widely accepted industry practices in estimating ridership numbers in lieu of accurate counts from O.T.A drivers.