Officials in the town of Unicoi spent more than $25,000 of taxpayer money on non-essential items, according to an audit by Tennessee Comptrollers.
Comptrollers, for instance, called out the former town recorder and one current employee for receiving discounted rates for their spouses’ medical and dental insurance totaling $13,318 and $8,344, respectively.
The town’s personnel policy did not authorize that, Comptrollers wrote.
“The personnel policy provides for the town to pay the cost of the employee’s medical and dental insurance; however, if an employee elects to provide coverage for family members, that cost will be at the employee’s expense. After reviewing this deficiency, the Town of Unicoi entered into a $5,000 settlement with the former town recorder for repayment of his discounted insurance premiums on January 31, 2019,” according to the audit.
“Therefore, from July 1, 2016, through December 31, 2018, these two employees received unauthorized discounted rates for their spouses’ medical and dental insurance, which resulted in the Town of Unicoi deciding to correct the deficiency, seek partial recovery of the overpayment/underpayment, and absorb the remaining loss of at least $16,662 ($13,318 plus $8,344 less $5,000).”
Town officials also allowed a contract attorney to participate in the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System for approximately four years, even though the attorney was not eligible to participate, the audit said.
The former town recorder used the town credit card to pay for as travel and meals without itemized receipts to document the goods and or services purchased, Comptrollers wrote.
“Without adequate supporting documentation, we were unable to determine if the charges were for the benefit of the town. Credit card purchases should be supported with adequate detailed documentation,” audits wrote.
The town made credit card purchases for food totaling at least $4,368. Items purchased often included items such as candy, soft drinks, cheese and veggie trays, crackers, Gatorade, Bai water, green tea, and Slimfast. Auditors said they could not determine whether these purchases were business related or personal in nature.
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