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Justin P. Wilson, Tennessee Comptroller

A state Comptroller's Office investigation reports uncovered problems at Meigs County's Finance Department and School Department.

The investigation involved selected records spanning July 1, 2008, through Nov. 30., 2013 at the finance department and from July 1, 2013, through May 28, 2014, in the school department, according to the report.

Investigators found that finance department employees were paid $26,604.17 in unauthorized compensation. The former interim finance director received $24,550 that was in addition to her regular salary. Another former finance director received additional compensation of $1,012.50, and the current finance director received additional compensation of $1,041.67.

There was no documentation or authorization on file to support any of these additional payments, the report states.

Detailed time records were not on file to support the payment of $1,201.50 for compensatory leave of the former interim finance director. Leave should not be approved unless it can be supported with adequate time records, comptroller's office officials state.

Investigators also found the School Department violated its conflict of interest policy by making purchases from a business owned by a school employee. Between Oct. 1, 2010, through May 28, 2014, the department spent $96,564.44 for supplies from Decatur Plumbing and Electrical Supply, a business is owned by a school maintenance employee. Management had reason to suspect a possible conflict of interest existed, officials said.

The findings have been reviewed with the district attorney general for the Ninth Judicial District.

"This investigation reveals the vital importance of following proper procedures," state Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said in a release on the investigation. "Local governments must provide prior authorization and maintain adequate documentation for expenditures. Good record keeping helps the public maintain confidence in their local officials."

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or twitter.com/BenBenton or www.facebook.com/ben.benton1 or 423-757-6569.

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