The director of a public library in Van Buren County may have received more than $10,000 of taxpayer money for work she did not perform, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers released this week.
Van Buren County taxpayers fund the library under the county’s general fund, according to the audit.
Auditors said they focused on the director of the Van Buren Memorial Library in Spencer and her activities between January and May of last year, when, due to flooding damage, the library closed for repairs.
Comptrollers said the library director, whom the audit did not identify, submitted time sheets that did not reflect actual time worked.
While the library was closed, the library director submitted time sheets indicating she worked her regular full-time 32 hours per week. When investigators met with the library director to discuss her time reporting during the library’s closure, the library director stated her hours worked varied, Comptrollers wrote.
“The library director explained there were days she was not at the library, and there were days she was at the library. The library director detailed that the week of gluing new carpet down, she was at the library approximately 20 hours.”
“The former librarian also stated she was told by her Board members to write down her full-time hours because the closure was not her fault. The day she realized they were going to have to close the library, the Board chairman told her to write her time down like she was at the library full- time, and he would sign the time sheets.”
The library director also stated she talked to other Board members about her time reporting, and the board members said the library closure was not her fault, and there was no reason why the Library Board should not pay her.
“The Van Buren County Mayor filed a fraud reporting form with the state Comptroller’s Office on May 15, 2018, alleging the librarian was not working her required hours,” Comptrollers wrote.
“Our review of supporting documentation and conversations with county officials revealed the county mayor was not only aware of the potential fraud, but he also took action to correct the problem in March 2018 when he directed the county’s finance director to change the library director’s time sheet and take 60 hours of accumulated vacation time from her. The library director advised investigators that she was not aware of and did not approve the use of her vacation time.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Burritt Memorial Library” by Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury.