A scathing report from the Tennessee Comptroller's office is blasting Meigs County government, for not correcting financial problems involving spending.
The report, 147 pages long, has one section detailing discrepancies in how the county finance department spends and accounts for taxpayer dollars.
The problems were uncovered two years ago.. were not corrected, and then, they turned up again in the latest county audit.
Meigs County Financial bookkeeper Libby McCosh says, she thought something was wrong last year, when she asked her former boss Connie Allen when would they start working on the county budget. She says Allen told her, "when revenues started coming in."
"I said, 'how do we know when ther revenues have come in.' because I was just curious," she says. "She said 'the numbers are in my head."
"She never showed me where the revenues were," McCosh says.
Meigs County Mayor Garland Langford says, that was just the continuation of the county finance department's problems, named in the latest comptroller's audit, that produced 13 findings of serious concern in the way the finance office handles county payroll, purchasing, budgeting and the administration of state and federal grants.
"Was there ever a loss of taxpayer dollars?" was the question I had for Mayor Garland. "No, no," came the quick reply. "Most of it was just a failure to do your job in a certain fashion and a certain manner, on paper."
But Mayor Langford did tell us the county has so far, spent 2 to 3 thousand dollars to implement new procedures to account for county money being spent. "If you're having to pay to correct the problems," I said, "then that is a loss of taxpayer dollars," and Mayor Langford did acknowledge that.
The mayor says, Connie Allen was terminated two months ago, and so was the county's finance committee several months ago. He feels that will appease the findings in the comptroller's office..
Are the "findings of serious concern" the tip of the iceberg?
"This is an iceberg in my world," Mayor Langford says. "Now we gotta melt it down and make it to where it's not there anymore."
One taxpayer says the county needs to go even further. "Yes, and they should let us know how they're doing that, I think," we were told.
Mayor Langford says, as the investigation continues into the way the finance office did business, anything questionable that's uncovered, could be taken to the district attorney's office for criminal prosecution.By Calvin Sneed