County loses money over apparent laid-back financial management approach

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE — Taxpayers paid more than $26,000 to three former Meigs County finance directors, who, evidently, had a laid-back approach to financial management, according to a state comptroller’s audit released Thursday.

The two former finance directors — one an interim director — received $26,604.17 in unauthorized pay, according to state Comptroller Justin Wilson’s audit.

The interim director received the bulk of that money, $24,550, in addition to her regular salary.

MEIGS COUNTY: County finance directors in Meigs County received more money than they should have, according to an audit. Pictured if the Meigs County Courthouse, where many county employees work.

The other finance director received unauthorized additional pay of $1,012.50, and the current finance director got an additional $1,041.67.

The former interim director, who was not named in the audit, held the job from 2007 through 2011 and told comptrollers she neither attended nor kept records of finance committee meetings.

“The Finance Committee did not meet on a regular basis due to the work schedules of some of its members,” the audit quoted the interim director as saying.

Finance committee members in other county and city governments traditionally meet in person to discuss government business, but not this one.

“On many occasions, there was not a quorum in attendance. It became necessary to discuss Finance Office business on the phone, by email, or by text. Meetings of the Finance Committee were held in the conference room located in the County Mayor’s Office. It was not unusual for the county mayor to be absent from these meetings, making it necessary to move the meeting to another location within the building,” the former interim director told auditors.

The audit did not list the names of the three finance directors, and Meigs County officials did not immediately return requests for comment Thursday.

The audit also said that the district attorney general for Tennessee’s Ninth Judicial District is reviewing the Comptroller’s findings, but no one from that office returned calls seeking comment Thursday.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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