Meg Backus Resigns, Nate Hill Suspended After Critical Report On Library Travel

Friday, September 5, 2014

One Chattanooga Library official has resigned after a critical report by Internal City Auditor Stan Sewell found travel abuses by top library personnel.

Meg Backus, systems administrator, has left the library.

Nate Hill, assistant library director, has been suspended.

Corrine Hill, executive director, said she has paid back any travel overcharges and will reform travel policies.

Ms. Hill said she took full responsibility for the travel issues.

She said in the future the library will follow the city's travel policies.

The Sewell report says, "Both individuals were paid by the Chattanooga Public Library while working for other entities as a consultant or speaker (without reporting leave to the Library).

Ms. Backus acknowledged submitting false time records, deleted relevant information after it was requested by the auditor and made false statements to the auditors. Mr. Hill had supervisory responsibility for Ms. Backus and failed to report substantial amounts of leave himself. In addition, Mr. Hill received duplicate reimbursements for travel (one from the Library and one from Friends of the Library).

The probe began after the City’s Hotline "received multiple reports of wasteful activity and abuses by several employees of the Chattanooga Public Library."

The report found unreported vacation leave by Executive Director Corrine Hill, Mr. Hill, Ms. Backus, and Ms. Barnett of 48, 120, 68 and 9 hours, respectively.

It says Mr. Hill and Ms. Backus went on paid speaking trips without taking personal time from the library.

The investigation found "double reimbursement claimed by Ms. Hill on a trip to Denmark (she claimed actual hotel expenses and also claimed a per diem amount for hotel expense) resulting in an overpayment to her of $972. In addition, Ms. Hill received the per diem for meals at 100% of the reimbursement rate on her travel dates to and from Singapore resulting in an overpayment of $74.50."

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