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UCHRA Resolved Most Audit Findings Except For Board Attendance

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UCHRA Resolved Most Audit Findings Except For Board Attendance

UCHRA Executive Director Mark Farley said the organization’s audit findings have been resolved with the exception of committee attendance.

A state Comptroller’s office audit of all the state’s human resources agencies released Tuesday found excessive absenteeism by UCHRA board members. The Executive Committee made up of regional mayors was one of those.

“Obviously, sometimes that is easy for those individuals that are full time mayors to do that,” Farley said. “But many of our city mayors across the region only have ceremonial type positions, and they still work full time jobs and are unable to take off during the day to come in.”

The audit report recommended that UCHRA implemented an attendance policy to answer this finding. Farley said under state statute, mayors are already required to attend executive meetings.

“It is going to be really difficult,” Farley said. “We do have an attendance policy for the consumer reps that are appointed by the county mayors, but the statute automatically appoints county and city mayors as being members of the board once they are elected to their office. That is something that is created by state statue. We really have no enforcement power over that. Our job is to make sure our meetings are beneficial to the mayors and that they are eager to come.”

Farley said the General Assembly is looking to reduce the size of the boards to not include city mayors to increase attendance rates.

“It could happen to us, as well as, other human resource agencies across the region,” Farley said. “The General Assembly is taking a long hard look not only at our operations, but with other operations that are funded through state government. They have reduced the size of boards on several occasions through out the last couple of years. They have looked at ours and have expressed some thoughts to reduce our size. Every county will still be represented, but it may not include all the small city mayors.”

The policy council made up of citizens appointed by different mayors also had absentees. Farley said often times members step away from their position or can not attend meetings, as well.

“It is designed to make sure that those individuals that are receiving our services that they have an input in how we are running our operations,” Farley said. “Certainly, we value their opinions and encourage them to be an active part of the board. They from time to time have to step away from the board, because of different things going on in their lives. Sometimes the mayors are able to get those appointments refilled fairly quickly, and other times it may take a few months.”

Unfilled positions existed in both 2019 and 2020 from Macon, Pickett and Smith Counties. Farley said the counties have since appointed appropriate members.


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