Gladeville Utility District looks at State reports
By CONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post
A former Gladeville Utility District general manager received more than $300,000 in payments that not approved or violated policy, says a just released audit from the State Comptroller’s Office.
As a result, the board of the GUD and the new general manager have been busy making changes to comply with recommendations in the audit.
Among other things the audit showed that, “The former general manager received payments totaling $300,211 that were either not approved and/or were in violation of district policy.”
Clifford Walker, the former general manager, is alleged to have received those payments between June 2006 and his retirement in May 2008.
The report also said that all three commissioners told state auditors that while they had an opportunity to review the details of the manager’s benefit package, which included some of the payments in question, they did not do so.
They said because they had not reviewed the details they had not been aware of those components.
The package reportedly included improper compensation to Walker for unused vacation days in the amount of $38,602, and $150,032 in unused sick leave pay.
This came after the board had voted that he should receive the same benefits as all other employees, or up to four weeks of paid vacation, and that unused sick leave would not be paid. He paid himself for 10 weeks of vacation and 1,944 hours of unused sick leave, the audit said.
A document authorizing the payments was signed by two of the commissioners more than two months after the money was paid to Walker.
They both said they would not have signed the document if they had known it was included.
Walker also reportedly ordered a $13,362 cash salary adjustment for himself and similar adjustments for several other employees.
He also received $71,440 in excess pay due to an unauthorized pay raise. The commissioners approved a 3 to 6 percent increase in pay across the board for employees, but the general manager ordered an additional 31 percent for himself, the audit noted.He also received an unapproved salary advance of $26,775 during the first five months of 2008.
All of these types of compensation are legal issues.
Commissioner Eddie McCrary said the board intends to “leave it to the state to decide whether to take further legal action that may result in recovering funds or restitution.”
The auditors also reported six other problems: The former manager’s apparent conflict of interest in selling a mower to the district, a lack of control over cell phones used by employees, an adjustment of a $6,593 grant without authorization or documentation to a commercial customer, inadequate oversight of fuel usage, failure to maintain complete records of fixed assets such as vehicles and failure to document bid compliance for purchases.
The board and current General Manger Danny Bledsoe have agreed to do what the auditor recommended to remedy these situations.
Those recommendations include making sure to provide impartial decisions to avoid conflicts of interest.
The board has already started expanding its use of equipment policy by developing a policy regards use of cell phones.
It has also implemented procedures that require all adjustments to billing be properly documented and approved by the board as well as procedures to monitor fuel usage and purchases.
It has also started a recording and inventory process to ensure that fixed assets are accounted for and not used or sold inappropriately.
The district has also developed a purchasing policy for competitive bidding requirements and a policy to document compliance.
Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at email@example.com.