Greene County employees used taxpayer-funded county assets for personal reasons, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers released Tuesday.
State auditors responded to allegations that county Sanitation Department employees used county vehicles for private purposes and used the department’s garage to work on their personal vehicles. That, auditors wrote, prompted the county attorney and the county’s human resources director to do an internal investigation.
“From the summary of the internal investigation and the written reprimands given to the employees, it appears some employees did in fact utilize a county vehicle for private purposes or the benefit of another individual and did use the department’s garage to perform work on or have work performed on their personal vehicles,” auditors wrote.
“Two employees were issued written reprimands, which included three-day unpaid suspensions. We reviewed Sanitation Department invoices and were unable to determine if any department purchased auto parts were used on personal vehicles. Sound business practices dictate that county-owned property be used only for county purposes. We did note that the county, upon completion of its investigation, revised several departmental polices.”
County Mayor Kevin Morrison, in a written response to Comptrollers, said he has “worked closely with the Director of Solid Waste to develop and implement a more stringent and detailed set of departmental policies that outline the expectations of the associates.”
In the same audit, Comptrollers also said time sheets did not always accurately reflect time worked.
“The clerk and master filed a salary suit against the county seeking additional funding for her office operations. From our review of related records, we noted that employees provided depositions during legal proceedings indicating actual time worked often differed from time reported,” auditors wrote.
“The failure to accurately record time worked on employee time sheets increases the risks of improper payments and has implications regarding federal wage and hour laws. This deficiency is the result of a lack of management oversight.”
In a written response, county officials said they do not agree with that finding.
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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 “Kevin Morrison” by Kevin Morrison. Background Photo “Greene County Courthouse” by Brian Stansberry. CC BY 3.0.