TN comptroller releases scathing audit of Chuckey utility district

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE — Officials responsible for overseeing the Chuckey Utility District of Greene and Washington counties signed important contracts, but completely forgot about them later on, according to a new scathing audit from State Comptroller Justin Wilson.

They also lost important receipts, gave unauthorized bonuses to themselves, lost important documents and spent time and resources tending to matters that had nothing to do with district business.

CHUCKEY: The Tennessee utility district bungled a number of functions, according to a new scathing audit.

Contact information for the Chuckey Utility District was unavailable.

Washington County Mayor Sam Eldridge told Tennessee Watchdog that he knows little about the auditor’s findings, but he’s heard they were harsh.

“I have not had a chance to review it, so I can’t talk specifics, but I do know there is pending legal action on it as well,” Eldridge said, adding the district only serves a couple of hundred people in his county.

The district primarily serves residents in Greene County, Eldridge said.

Greene County Mayor Alan Broyles didn’t respond to messages Tennessee Watchdog left with his office Thursday and Friday.

Among Wilson’s other findings:

• “The manager put into place holiday and longevity bonuses for the former manager, as well as bonuses for herself and selected others without approval from the Board, in violation of state law.”

• “The utility manager held a retirement party for the retiring manager at a total cost of approximately $7,600. The board’s input regarding appropriate cost was not sought.”

• “The manager was routinely provided essential financial information (financial statements and bank reconciliations) by the District accountant to present at the regular board meetings. The manager did not deliver the documents for the board’s consideration.”

• “A Macbook Pro computer was purchased on a District credit card by the manager, however the unit could not be found on District property or in District vehicles.”

• “The former manager was paid bonuses which were not approved by the Board of Commissioners.”

• “Management (non-board) fostered an employment environment that exposed the District to legal challenges in the areas of whistleblower policies, retaliatory discharge, and wage and hour violations. This occurred through direct threats to several employees for their continued employment if they were guilty of upstream information transfers.”

• “The manager failed to acquire bids and document compliance with procedures for equipment purchases in excess of $10,000 per item.”

The audit doesn’t reveal the manager’s name.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org. or follow him and submit story ideas on his official Facebook page.

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