Audit Says TWRA May 'Condone' Abuses - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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Audit Says TWRA May 'Condone' Abuses

From Bryan Staples:

A newly released state audit blasts the management of the agency that's supposed to look out for Tennessee's wildlife, accusing a West Tennessee supervisor of looking out for himself.

The audit found that a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency equipment supervisor authorized and approved two of his employees to take three days of sick leave when they weren't really sick.

Instead, the two equipment operators were helping him build a shed on his private property, the audit says.

The same supervisor also reportedly admitted giving state property -- a large engine from a dragline crane, two used tires and an oil burning stove -- to one of the employees that had worked on his property.

According to the audit, he also admitted that he gave other employees metal shelving, that he built a steel welding table to take home and that he borrowed an agency's four-wheeler for personal use.

Add to that, one of the equipment operators -- according to the audit --abused his sick leave, took a state-owned equipment trailer for his private welding business and falsified an invoice for welding repairs.

As a result, the audit says the TWRA management suspended the supervisor for 10 days without pay. Management imposed a five-day suspension on the equipment operator.

But get this: an internal investigation had recommended severe punishment for those involved, including termination for one employee.

TWRA management chose not to follow the recommendation and imposed lesser degrees of punishment. 

Auditors were clearly not happy with TWRA stating:

"Management's response appears to condone the falsification of the invoice in order to facilitate payment. If the agency was complicit with the falsification of the invoice in order to facilitate payment, it is another indication of management's disregard of established internal control procedures."

TWRA officials, however, insist that they acted appropriately in handling the misconduct.

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