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Comptroller Investigation Uncovers Multiple Issues in Greene County Utility Districts

Press release from the Tennessee Office of the Comproller; August 18, 2014:

A special investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury has identified a number of problems with the Chuckey Utility District and the Cross Anchor Utility District in Greene County. Until recently these two districts shared a common staff, including upper management.

Investigators made several findings associated with retired general manager Shirley Collins, and former general manager Kandie Jennings. Collins served as general manager for both districts until 2012, at which time the two districts appointed her daughter, Kandie Jennings, general manager.

Comptroller investigators found that Shirley Collins received $25,056 in bonuses that had not been approved by the boards of commissioners. In December 2012, Kandie Jennings directed performance bonuses and longevity bonuses be paid to her mother. Individual board members told investigators they did not approve and were not aware of the bonuses.

Investigators also discovered that former general manager Kandie Jennings spent $2,064 of district funds to purchase an Apple MacBook Pro and accessories for her personal benefit.

There are additional concerns surrounding a $182,334 consulting contract between the Chuckey Utility District and retired general manager Shirley Collins. Investigators found inconsistencies with the authorization, interpretation, and initiation date of the contract.

Comptroller investigators have included a number of recommendations in their final report. These include establishing policies for district expenses and credit card usage. There should also be more oversight of district fuel cards and utility district vehicles.

“Utility Districts are entrusted with large amounts of money,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Ratepayers must have confidence that these funds are not being misspent. We are committed to making all forms of government work better.”

To view the investigation online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/.

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