Inside Story: TSEA Prez Accused of Double Dipping - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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Inside Story: TSEA Prez Accused of Double Dipping

Zoyle Jones Zoyle Jones
From Phil Willams:

He's a state employee who's fought for more money for state employees.

But did Zoyle Jones get a little too creative in how he made his money?

Jones, who insists he has not done anything illegal, is the elected leader of the Tennessee State Employees Association.

But if he's supposed to lead by example, taxpayers had better hope that other state employees don't follow.

In addition to being TSEA president, Jones also works in the Department of Correction.

A state investigation recently concluded that Jones had engaged in "double-billing," charging both the state and the employees association for mileage for the same trips.

It happened on at least 12 occasions between June 2004 and August 2008, the state says. The amount in question: almost $3,000.

But after the correction commissioner demoted Jones, the TSEA president demanded that the association's executive director Jim Tucker be punished. 

That's right, Jones wanted Tucker to be punished for releasing the evidence that the state used against him.

"There is widespread panic in TDOC [Tennessee Department of Correction] over what has happened to me," he emailed to fellow board members.

"The board must have the courage to do the right thing and punish Jim [as well as] any and all persons associated with supplying information."

But what about his own conduct? That, he argued, wasn't really double-dipping.

"Double-dipping ... is out of the same pot of money. I was told by [a] union official and two attorneys that what I did occurs in the private sector all the time."

Which really isn't much of an excuse.

As to his job with the state, Jones did take a big cut in pay.

But the commissioner says he can keep his job IF he doesn't end up facing criminal charges.

The matter has been turned over to the Davidson County district attorney's office for review.

As for the state employees association, its board is expected to decide later this month whether to take any action of its own.

Read letters from TDOC commissioner, Jones' lawyer

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