Categories
Press Releases

TN Comptroller Report: Gibson City Recorder Stole Funds, Gave Herself Insurance Upgrade

Press release from the Office of the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury; September 24, 2013:

The former city recorder in the small West Tennessee town of Gibson stole more than $24,000 and gave herself an unauthorized upgrade to her health insurance, the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations has found. Auditors from the Comptroller’s office worked in cooperation with agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on the case.

While working as city recorder, Shawnda West withheld at least $24,267 in city funds for her own personal use. Also, she upgraded her insurance coverage to include her dependents, even though the town’s board of mayor and aldermen had only approved coverage for her. The difference in the value of coverage was $1,583.

West was fired from her job with the city and faces criminal charges.

The Division of Investigations released a report on the case today, which is available online at http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/.

The report also highlighted other flaws in Gibson’s money-handling and record-keeping procedures. Specifically, the report notes that West was given sole responsibility for collecting, receipting, recording, depositing and reconciling all city collections – which meant there was no one in a position to oversee her work and possibly detect the theft. Also, collections of city funds weren’t always promptly deposited in the bank and the city did not prepare daily reports on cash collections.

“Fraud, waste or abuse of public money simply cannot be tolerated,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Even in small communities, it’s important to set up some checks and balances in money-handling procedures so no single individual is in a position to improperly take money without being detected. I am encouraged that Gibson city officials have indicated that they have taken steps to correct that problem.”

To report suspected cases of fraud, waste or abuse of public funds in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-232-5454 or make a report online by visiting http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/shared/safwa.asp.

Categories
Press Releases

More Disaster Declaration Requests for Obama from Haslam

Press Release from Bill Haslam, Governor of the State of Tennessee, 7 May 2011:

Requests Assistance for Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, Montgomery, Obion, Shelby and Stewart counties

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has asked President Obama to declare 15 counties as federal disaster areas due to a series of severe storms, straight-line winds, flash flooding and the record flooding of the Mississippi River, beginning on April 19, 2011.

Should this request for assistance be granted, Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, Montgomery, Obion, Shelby and Stewart counties would have access to varying levels of federal assistance programs.

Haslam may request other counties as damage assessments are completed.

“We have many fine first responders, local leaders and state agencies who have been engaged for many days making sure we can protect and save lives, and protect property, during many severe weather and flooding emergencies,” Haslam said. “Federal assistance would help people restore their lives and help local governments rebuild their infrastructure.”

On April 26, Haslam declared a state of emergency as a precautionary move because of the severe weather and forecast of Mississippi River flooding. Haslam was briefed April 29 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the storms and their effect on water levels along the Mississippi River system, and he toured the levees in Northwest Tennessee with emergency management officials and local mayors May 3.

In the request, Haslam seeks Individual Assistance for Dyer, Lake, Obion, Shelby and Stewart counties, to include the Individuals and Households Program (IHP), Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Food Stamp Program, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Legal Aid, and Small Businesses Administration disaster loans. The request also seeks assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

Haslam also seeks Public Assistance for all the counties in the request for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

The Department of Military, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment & Conservation, Department of Health (EMS), Department of Human Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Safety, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Civil Air Patrol, American Red Cross and Tennessee Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters are responding to the current flooding emergency and providing protective services to help local efforts.

Heavy snow-pack melting and above average rainfall in the Midwest raised the Mississippi River to record flood levels along Tennessee’s western border at the end of April. The rising Mississippi River added to flooding already occurring in many middle and west Tennessee counties due to severe storms and tornadoes in mid-April.

Additional information about state and federal assistance for affected counties will be released as details become available.

Damage assessments continue in East Tennessee following the storms and tornadoes that impacted that part of the state last week. Additional counties are expected to be added to the initial declaration from May 2 as those assessments continue.

For more updates regarding the state’s response, visit the TEMA website at www.tnema.org.