Tennessee Comptrollers Report Missing Money with Public Utility


Tennessee Comptrollers this week scolded members of the Marion Natural Gas & Board of Water Works and Sewers, a public utility in South Pittsburg, for not having their finances in order.

This, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers recently released.

According to Comptrollers, a shortage of at least $2,356 existed between January 2017 and February 2018.

“During the period examined, multiple warehouse employees issued 1,082 receipts. Our investigation noted that 54 of the 1,082 warehouse receipts totaling $2,356.40, were not posted to the main office accounting records. Warehouse receipts should have been subsequently remitted to the main office by the warehouse employees where these receipts would be manually posted to the main office official accounting records,” according to the audit.

“However, neither the employees at the warehouse nor the employees at the main office reconciled warehouse receipts with collections and deposits. Due to the lack of internal controls over collections, investigators were unable to determine who was responsible for the cash shortage.”

Comptrollers cited the following deficiencies:

• Funds were not deposited within three days of collection, in violation of Tennessee law.

• Collections at the warehouse were not reconciled with daily sales receipts and deposits.

• Collections remitted to the main office were not receipted.

The core business of the utility is natural and propane gas. The warehouse also operates a retail store, which sells refills for portable propane tanks, fireplaces, portable heaters, grills, and other accessories such as non-gas grills and coolers, according to the audit.

This is not the first example of mismanagement Comptrollers have reported at a public agency in recent months.

As The Tennessee Star reported in September, staff at Tennessee’s Driver Services’ Centers aren’t doing enough to make sure people who come in for commercial drivers’ licenses and commercial learners’ permits provide proof of residency.

This, of course, increases the likelihood non-residents of Tennessee could get a drivers’ license.

And that could result in more public safety issues.

As Comptrollers reported in August, authorities indicted Hamblen County Trustee John Baskette on charges of misconduct in office.

The indictments include 40 counts of failure to deposit public funds, two counts of official misconduct, one count of destruction of government records, one count of theft over $60,000, and one count of worthless check over $1,000.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Image “Marion Natural Gas & Board of Water Works and Sewers” by Google Maps.





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