Celina Wastewater employees operated a private company with City Resources

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An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office found improper conduct by three workers at the Celina Wastewater Treatment Plant in Clay County. The investigation began after a former mayor of the city identified and reported questionable bills found at the sewage treatment plant.

Investigators determined that the current plant supervisor, a retired supervisor, and a current plant employee were using city resources, such as time, chemicals, lab, and equipment, to perform water sample testing and analysis for their private company. By utilizing city resources, the operating costs of their private enterprise were significantly lower.

The three employees were paid a total of $10,847.52 by the city for the time they also worked for their private company.

Additionally, the value of the plant’s resources and laboratory equipment that were used to conduct testing for the private company resulted in a total cost to the Town of Celina of $10,898.04.

The investigation revealed that the three employees generated $277,875 for their private business from January 2014 to November 2020. This occurred when the men often worked city hours and used equipment from the l ‘factory.

Investigators also questioned the compensatory time (comp) accrued by the three individuals, and a total of $15,328.69 in compensatory time payments that were made to the current supervisor and the plant employee. .

The results of this investigation have been reported to the District 13 Attorney General’s Office.e Judicial district.

“Our investigators have recommended that Celina officials take steps to improve supervision and monitoring of sewage plant employees,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower said. “It’s also important that the city properly enforces its personnel policies regarding outside employment and adheres to federal law regarding time-off limits.”

To view the investigation report, go to tncot.cc/doireports. To see a map illustrating the monitor’s investigations, go to tncot.cc/mappinginvestigations.

If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse of public funds in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800.232.5454 or file a report online at: tncot.cc/fraud. Follow us on twitter @TNCOT and Instagram @tncot.

Media Contact: John Dunn, Director of Communications, 615.401.7755 or john.dunn@cot.tn.gov

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