Audit: No Records Exist to Justify Hardeman County Employees Taking Nearly $26,000 Worth of Benefits

Two employees with the Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office received more than $26,000 worth of vacation time, holiday time, and compensatory time they might not have rightfully earned, according to a state audit released Tuesday.

This, of course, matters  because it’s taxpayer money.

Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson’s audit did not name the employees, but it did say the two employees no longer work for the sheriff’s office. Wilson’s audit also said this occurred in April and May of last year.

“Due to a lack of adequate documentation on file to support these payments, as well as a lack of adequate time and leave records maintained by the Sheriff’s Department, we were unable to determine the validity of these payment amounts,” Comptrollers wrote.

“This deficiency was a result of a lack of management oversight and may have resulted in unauthorized compensation.”

No one at Sheriff John Doolen’s department returned The Tennessee Star’s repeated requests for comment Tuesday.

County officials, the audit went on to say, did not follow their own personnel policy on this matter.

“Adequate payroll records and supporting documentation should be maintained to support all payments to employees,” Comptrollers wrote.

“Accrued leave records should be accurately maintained to ensure proper accountability for these employee benefits. Officials should determine the propriety of these payments to the former employees.”

County Mayor Jimmy Sain told The Star he had no comment on the matter. But, in a written response to auditors, Sain said “management has discussed this issue with the sheriff for the past four years.”

“The employees of the Sheriff’s Department have been accruing holiday, vacation, and compensatory time for over 20 years,” Sain wrote.

“Management has recommended that employees be required to use this time prior to separation or retirement.”

This is the first known time Comptrollers were known to make a finding pertaining to law enforcement in 2019.

Last month, as auditors reported, Humphreys County Sheriff’s officers took more than $16,000 in money from their Drug Control Fund and used it to pay for things they weren’t legally allowed to.

Also, last month, Comptrollers said members of the Hickman County Sheriff’s Office weren’t following state law on how they handle money they seize from criminal drug suspects or how they pay confidential informants.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Justin Wilson” by Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury. 
Background Photo “Hardeman County Sheriffs” by Hardeman County Sheriffs. 












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