Officials with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation made headlines this week for hosting a swanky event where they hobnobbed with the special interests they’re supposed to regulate.
But this is not the first time TDEC officials’ have allegedly used poor judgment when it comes to how they manage government resources and taxpayer money.
The Tennessean recently reported about an after-hours meet up between TDEC regulators and representatives from the state’s chemical waste, and construction industries.
The annual event is known as the Environmental Show of the South. The event is three days and consists of workshops and networking events. Members of these private industries pay for the venue, the food and prizes for TDEC employees, according to The Tennessean.
Tennessee legislators and Republican Gov. Bill Lee are reportedly unhappy about the arrangement.
Organizers held this year’s Environmental Show of the South in Chattanooga last month.
But this is not the first time TDEC has made headlines for alleged mismanagement or abuse of taxpayer-funded resources.
As The Tennessee Star reported the past several months:
• TDEC booted deputy Brock Hill from his job after he allegedly sent a female state employee a series of reportedly disgusting texts. TDEC officials would not disclose additional details.
• TDEC officials did not prepare and submit permit efficiency reports for landowners the way they were supposed to, per a legislative directive, according to a Tennessee Comptroller’s Audit. According to TDEC’s website, in 2012, members of the Tennessee General Assembly asked department officials to prepare two reports each year, in February and August, detailing the progress and efficiency of the environmental permit application process. But members of TDEC’s management did not submit certain reports on time to the governor, members of the Tennessee General Assembly or to the public, as required, according to the audit.
• Federal taxpayers paid to send two Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation officials to China last year for a symposium on “food, water, and energy systems” to benefit Tennessee.
As the now-extinct website Tennessee Watchdog reported between 2012 through 2016:
• In 2012, Sandra K. Dudley, a top TDEC official, had to remind her own employees in a memo of the proper ways to use a toilet. In the memo, Dudley told employees they were not to flush random items, including shoes, down the commode at work, at Nashville’s Tennessee Tower.
• Former TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau flew to the U.N. climate change conference in France this month to hobnob with environmentalists who say raising your electricity rates will save the planet, although taxpayers did not pay for the trip.
As FOX News 17 out of Nashville reported four years ago, then TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau traveled aboard a six-seater C-90 King Air from Nashville to Athens, TN for a brief speech. By car, that is less than a three-hour drive. But the flight cost taxpayers $1,517.
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