Bedford County Public Funds Used To Buy Questionable Items, Report Says

Monday, April 1, 2013

Nearly $47,000 of Bedford County Emergency Communications District funds were spent to buy brand name clothing, expensive meals and other questionable items over a period spanning more than six years.

That was one of the key findings in an audit released today by the comptroller’s division of the local government audit. The Bedford County Emergency Communications District receives 911 fees collected from telephone bills to provide enhanced 911 emergency telephone service for the area it serves.

While the district’s former director claimed the clothing purchases were for employee uniforms, receipts show that items were purchased from Eddie Bauer, The Gap, Cabelas, Dillard’s and several small specialty stores.

The former director also charged numerous meals to the district’s credit cards in situations in which there was no documentation that she was traveling overnight on business. Examples of these charges included an $84.84 tab at J.Alexander’s restaurant in Franklin and a $40.03 tab at Toot’s in Murfreesboro. In addition, meals were purchased by the former director while on overnight travel status even though she had already received a travel advance which included meals and incidentals.

There was also little or no documentation to verify other purchases the former director made were for business-related purposes, including a bag purchased at a Coach store in Pigeon Forge, two iPods, two Nooks and a Bosch Pro Drill. The bag, the drill, one iPod and one Nook have not been returned to the district.

The audit also identified several other problems:

· The former director, board members and employees routinely received travel advances without filing follow-up expense reports to document how the travel advances were spent.

· Employees were sometimes reimbursed for meals when they were not traveling and for personal vehicle mileage expenses when they were traveling in district-owned cars.

· Cell phones issued to district employees appeared to be used for personal purposes based on usage charges for downloads, pix/flix messaging, and hot spot service.

· The district also purchased some goods and services without putting them out for competitive bids, including a new SUV and heating, ventilation and cooling upgrades to the district’s communications center.

“Whether money is collected through taxes or surcharges on telephone bills, it is still public money and should be spent only for purposes that benefit the public,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Many of the expenditures outlined in this report simply should not have occurred. The district’s board of directors needs to do a better job of oversight to prevent these types of issues from cropping up again in the future.”

To view the report online, go to:http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/la/


Independent Candidate Perry Lamb To Turn In Signatures For Walker County Commissioner Race

Perry Lamb said he would pay his qualifying fee on Thursday morning as an Independent candidate for Walker County sole commissioner. He said he would then finalize the process on July 8 by delivering the 16,50 signatures he has collected that are required by law to put him on the November ballot. His campaign said, "This accomplishment is a first for Walker ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ANDRES, SYLVESTER G  1704 S GREENWOOD AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37407  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DOMESTIC POSS.OF FIREARM WHILE IN COMMISSION OF FELONY --- BAILEY, AVEUS MARQUEL  5005 18TH AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37407  Age at Arrest: 24 years ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (2)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Story You Won’t See

In a puzzling time when the big daily newspapers have veered strongly away from “all the news that is fit to print,” allow me to share a story that you very likely will not see on CNN, ABC News, or in the big media conglomerates that influence the way you think, the way you react and – as a result – easily warp our common senses. This story is very true. Late last Sunday afternoon, ... (click for more)

Hensley Succeeds Henry As Soddy-Daisy Athletic Director

Soddy-Daisy baseball coach Jared Hensley has added a new role to his duties. Hensley, who has coached the baseball Trojans for eight years with a 177-111 record and state tournament appearances in 2011 and 2015, is the school’s new athletic director. Hensley takes over for Steve Henry, now the school’s principal. “With coach Henry now the man in charge at our school,” ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Fairyland Clinches Red Division Swim Title

Members of the Calhoun swim team were set and ready to compete on the pool deck at the Fairyland Club Monday night, but they never got wet as the meet was postponed by lighting, thunder and the overall threat of stormy weather. They made the long trip back about 24 hours later and the second time around wasn’t nearly as productive as 21 less swimmers made the trip to the top ... (click for more)