Members of the BonDeCroft Utility District in White County abused their positions of public trust to help themselves, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers released Thursday.
The BonDeCroft Utility District provides water service to approximately 1,400 customers, according to the audit.
“The utility district has a policy permitting employees to cash in (request and receive payment for) unused vacation and sick leave. Investigators determined the District General Manager and District Field Supervisor did not report and record when they used vacation leave. This created inflated leave balances, which caused the manager and supervisor to receive compensation they were not due when cashing in their vacation days,” according to a Comptrollers’ press release.
“Additionally, the district supervisor cashed in sick leave in excess of the 12 days allowed annually by policy. The supervisor exceeded 12 days in three of the four years reviewed, including one year in which he cashed in 30 days.”
The BonDeCroft Utility District board of commissioners relieved the manager of his position at the close of business earlier this month. The supervisor was placed on a 90-day disciplinary probation effective October 9, according to the audit.
“Utility district commissioners must take their oversight role very seriously,” the press release quoted Comptroller Justin P. Wilson saying.
“Commissioners should periodically review payroll records and bank statements to ensure accountability,” he added. “A few checks and balances can help identify problems and lead to quicker resolutions.”
The results of this investigation have been shared with the office of the District Attorney General of the 13th Judicial District, according to the press release.
According to the audit, the district management failed to comply with or administer responsibilities entrusted to him.
“He received benefits he was not entitled to and permitted the field supervisor to violate leave policies,” the audit said. “To adequately perform the responsibilities entrusted to him, the manager should implement and enforce all provisions of approved policies.”
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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 “BonDeCroft Utility District” by the Tennessee Comptroller.