NASHVILLE, Tenn. ---Nashville Electric Service employees respond to tough questioning from Metro council Members in regards to the results of a recent state audit.
A special called meeting at Metro council chambers, allowed council members to voice their concerns directly to top NES officials.
"Will somebody just tell me that they are sorry for this and it will never happen again?" questioned Council Member Charlie Tygard.
"It would be our sincere desire going forward you are going convince the general public NES has learned something from this situation," said Council Member Phil Claiborne.
A state audit found NES purchased more than $17 million in cable under a no-bid contract, while a vice president used utility accounts to buy and sell items on eBay and Amazon. It also confirms a "questionable" deal between NES and Gaylord Entertainment that provided free tickets to utility executives as part of a contract between the two entities, as well as improper travel claims by NES executives and board members.
"Can we get better? Absolutely," said NES President Decosta Jenkins. "We don't have any illegal activity, and no money was misappropriated, but we are going to get better."
Jenkins said officials are already implementing almost all of the reforms suggested by auditors, and realize they need to work toward rebuilding the utility's reputation.
"Anytime you have an audit you are going to have some findings," said Jenkins. "Anything we found that was problematic, we didn't challenge it. We said we would fix it."
Jenkins, and NES Board Chair Robert McCabe also discussed a new "corrective action plan" centered around revising the travel reimbursement program, reducing the number of credit cards given to employees from 160 to 11, and increasing training policies across the board.
"We need to do better," said McCabe. "We need to do better practically and reputationally."