NewsTracker Tax and Budget

Pickett County Improperly Issued Road Construction Contract: State Audit

Pickett County officials failed to solicit competing bids for a stone contract, violating state law that requires bids for purchases over $10,000, according to a state audit released earlier this week.

County officials bought $156,000 in crushed stone for a road repair, and according to the audit, the road superintendent said he bought the stone from the quarry closest to the road being fixed. Auditors faulted him for not documenting the transportation costs and warned that the practice of just choosing a vendor could result in taxpayers over-paying for services.

Also worrying was a finding that the general sessions judge has been ordering defendants to contribute to charities of the judge’s choice in addition to paying the usual fines. That’s contrary to a state attorney general’s opinion saying that the judge has no such authority, the auditors noted.

Courts officials also failed to make deposits within three days of collection as required by state law, a persistent problem that auditors said they had noted the year before.

In Rutherford County, auditors say an employee filed false insurance claims more than $14,500, and another employee took $745 from the General Sessions Court for her personal use. The employee filing false claims had signed up two ineligible dependents for the county-provided insurance plan but has since agreed to a restitution arrangement with the county.

Other recent audits can be found on the Comptroller of the Treasury’s website.