Investigators with the Comptroller’s Office said they have found questionable charges made by the Sevier County Central Dispatch director totaling $9,462.80 from July 2021 to March 2023. The purchases included tactical equipment, clothing, food, drinks, travel and other supplies.
The investigation also found that the director taught multiple first aid classes during working hours without county officials knowing. The release claims that the director did not report 64 hours of leave for the classes from July 2022 to June 2023. The release goes on to state that after being questioned by county officials, the director voluntarily adjusted his timesheets.
“County officials must improve their oversight of SCCD purchases to help reduce the risk of errors, fraud, waste, or abuse,” said Comptroller Mumpower. “County officials should also establish and enforce necessary policies to ensure its employees are acting appropriately.”
The director has been placed on leave without pay pending further internal investigation according to a statement from Sevier County.
“We take the findings of the report seriously and are committed to ensuring that all purchases made by employees of Sevier County are made in accordance with state law and county policy. Sevier County administrative staff assisted the Tennessee Comptroller Division of Investigations throughout the process in response to the allegations in the Sevier County Central Dispatch and E-911,” reads a statement from the Sevier County Government.
The county added that they have implemented “a new governmental structure and oversight” to ensure department directors are more directly accountable to county officials. The hope is that this change along with new and updated policies will provide better internal controls for the county government.
“Sevier County will continue to review and make updates to our policies to deter future misconduct. Sevier County thanks the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office for its in-depth investigation, professionalism, and direction in partnering with the county on this situation,” said the county in a statement.