Chattanooga Mismanaged Millions of Taxpayer Dollars, Report Says

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Chattanooga city officials mismanaged more than $2 million of taxpayer money, according to a new report from that city’s News Channel 9.

This, from an audit that was done of eight city projects, the station reported.

“According to the audit, seven of the eight projects they sampled had planning deficiencies at some level,” the station said.

“For example, the city bought handheld machines to issue traffic tickets. Records show they were not used for two years because of a lack of budget to carry out the project. They were outdated and the city had to buy new devices, costing taxpayers.”

The city auditor, the station said, found more tax dollar waste at recreation centers.

“The city bought software that allows people to book classes and more. The audit shows only eight of the 17 locations can use it,” News Channel 9 reported.

“These purchases are costing taxpayers over $1 million in partial waste. The city’s auditor says it’s partial waste because the systems are being used to some extent.”

The station reported on another program that wasted $1.1 million in taxpayer money — that program is at the city courthouse.

“According to the audit, the city spent $1.1 million to convert paper files to electronic records,” the station said.

“Records show it failed because of poor planning, key players not involved, consultant billing rate higher than expected and employees not properly trained.”

Chattanooga auditor Stan Sewell had a lot to say about the matter in an interview with the station.

“We’re looking for accountability. We’re looking for who is responsible for who is making sure our staff is trained and competent to use the software,” Sewell said.

Sewell said the city “needs a formal process to show they have the funds and the resources to justify software purchases in the future.”

Members of the city’s Department of Informational Technology said they “are looking into the processes being taken for better planning.”

“The Mayor’s Office says they are actively looking into what’s being done to make sure these mistakes don’t happen again,” the station said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.

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