Comptroller Alleges Sharon Public Works Director Misused Funds, Resources
NASHVILLE (MAY 12) — The Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury investigated allegations of malfeasance related to the public works director for the City of Sharon. The investigation was limited to selected records for the period of January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018. The results of the investigation were communicated with the Office of the District Attorney General of the 27th Judicial District.
Investigators found that on August 6, 2018 the public works director used the city’s credit card to pay his personal cell phone bill totaling $1,518.67. The director admitted to using the city’s credit card to pay his cell phone bill, but told investigators this was a mistake, that he accidentally used the city’s credit card instead of his personal credit card. The director stated he was in the town of Martin on August 6, 2018, to pick up pizza from Little Caesars Pizza for the trusties from the Weakley County Jail who were working for the public works department that day. He stated while he was there getting pizza, he went next door to AT&T and paid his cell phone bill with the city’s card by mistake.
Investigators learned that pizza is normally bought for the jail trusties in the City of Sharon at the Little General Store, which is just a quarter mile down the street from the public works department. The Little Caesars Pizza located in Martin is over nine miles away from the public works department. Investigators found that the director never used a credit card or prepaid card to pay his personal phone bill, but always paid in cash or check with funds from his checking account as the payment method. Any time a check was used as the form of payment, the check was returned for insufficient funds.
Investigators also found that on August 6, 2018, the director’s cell phone was shut off by AT&T for non-payment, approximately 42 minutes before he used the city’s credit card to pay his cell phone bill. The director reimbursed the City of Sharon on August 7, 2018, for his personal use of the city’s credit card.
The investigation found the City of Sharon public works director used his city provided vehicle for personal use on at least two occasions. The director used his city vehicle on June 15, 2018, to go shopping at Walmart for personal items and used his city issued vehicle to drive to AT&T to pay his personal cell phone bill as mentioned in the above finding. This personal use violates Section 7, Part A. of the City of Sharon’s personal policy which states, “Use of Municipal Time, Vehicles, Facilities, etc. No employee may use or authorize use of municipal time, facilities, equipment or supplies for private gain or advantage to oneself or any other person, group or organization other than the municipality. Decisions about aid to charitable, civic or other will be made exclusively by the governing body.”