Scott County Official Denies Stealing From Taxpayers, Despite Report

The manager for the Scott County Airport doesn’t work all the hours he’s supposed to, and county taxpayers get shortchanged as a result, according to a new audit from the Tennessee Comptrollers’ Office.

Scott County Airport Director Hank Duvall, however, told The Tennessee Star the report about him is false.

“It is kind of a scary situation for me. It is also kind of embarrassing, because I hate to bring this sort of spotlight on the airport,” Duvall said, adding Comptrollers wouldn’t have gotten involved without someone complaining to them.

“I think someone might have a vendetta against me, but I don’t know who.”

The Scott County Airport is in Oneida, in northeast Tennessee. The Scott County Commission oversees an airport authority.  Duvall answers to that authority, according to the audit.

In their report, auditors questioned whether Duvall works at the airport full time. They said he did not consistently clock in between October 26, 2016 through December 19 of last year. County officials later made Duvall’s position a salaried one. After that, Comptrollers said he did not record his hours worked.

“A review of airport operational hours, employee work schedules, and interviews with airport staff and the board chairman indicate the airport manager works a minimum of 27.5 hours per week,” Comptrollers wrote.

According to the county’s finance director and the county’s personnel policy, employees are required to work 40 hours per week to qualify for full-time status.

No one at the Scott County Mayor’s Office returned a request for comment Monday, presumably because it was Veterans Day.

Comptrollers said they went to visit Duvall at the airport one day on August of last year, and he was not there — but he later clocked himself in for that day.

“I wasn’t at the airport (when they came), but I was at another airport getting a part for a line. They didn’t say anything about that. I was on the clock, but I wasn’t at the airport,” Duvall, who said he has worked there since 2007 without problems, told The Star.

“They (Comptrollers) asked me to offer a rebuttal, and I gave them one. It’s obviously not in the investigation report. I said in my rebuttal that I am on call 24/7, and I was there a lot of times when no one else was. I am there when no one else is there.”

Duvall said he makes $30,000 a year.

“People don’t realize how much time I do spend there,” Duvall said.

“They don’t know I go there after hours. I get called all hours of the night to fuel planes or helicopters.”

Duvall said he is scheduled to discuss the matter with county commissioners November 26.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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