Tennessee Comptrollers released a blistering audit of Hancock County Friday, faulting officials for, among other things, not paying taxes on time, a conflict of interest with the sheriff, and a teacher selling school assets on eBay.
Last year someone told Comptrollers that a school employee sold items from a school storage building on eBay, using that employees’ personal account.
“However, the School Department did not have an inventory listing of items stored in the storage building; therefore, they were unable to determine if the listing obtained by the Sheriff’s Department included all the school assets that were missing,” according to the audit.
“The director of schools dismissed the employee, and the Board of Education subsequently accepted the employee’s resignation. The School Department has since changed all the locks on the storage building as well as developed an inventory listing. As of the date of this report, no charges have been filed. This finding has been reviewed with the district attorney general.”
Elsewhere in the audit, Comptrollers faulted county officials for taking $10,228 out of the general fund to repair county-owned ambulances and giving it to a business owned by Sheriff Bradley Brewer. Those payments went against state law, Comptrollers said.
Comptrollers also said county officials did not remit two payroll tax deposits to the Internal Revenue Service, which caused an assessment of interest and penalties totaling more than $2,000.
As the audit went on to say, the Sheriff’s Department deposits seized cash in a bank account until the amounts are refunded or awarded to the department by the Tennessee Department of Safety.
“The Sheriff’s Department did not maintain inventory records of seized cash maintained in the bank account,” Comptrollers wrote. “Therefore, we were unable to determine if the office accounted for the seized cash properly and if a portion of the seized cash had been awarded to the department. The failure to adequately inventory seized cash increases the risk of loss. This deficiency is the result of a lack of management oversight.”
Comptrollers also said county officials did not seek competitive bids to buy and install lights at the high school baseball field totaling nearly $30,000.
Tennessee law requires competitive bids to get solicited through newspaper advertisement on all purchases exceeding $10,000.
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