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Comptrollers Office Investigating Former Clay County 4-H Leader

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Comptrollers Office Investigating Former Clay County 4-H Leader

A former Clay County 4-H Program Assistant is under investigation for improper use of county facilities and the disappearance of county property.

The State Comptrollers Office investigation found the former employee had been using a barn and government-owned livestock equipment at the county fairgrounds. He did not have authorization from Clay County or the 4-H program. The individual used the equipment and shelter to breed and sell his pigs to parents of 4-H members.

Tennessee Comptroller Director of Communications John Dunn said when the assistant was told to remove his livestock, some $9,000 equipment showed up missing.

“That barn located at the fairgrounds was really intended to be a teaching facility for 4-H youth members and not to shelter the former program assistant’s personal livestock,” Dunn said. “When the former program assistant was asked to remove his pigs from the barn, it ended up that a lot of property of the Clay County Government actually went missing.”

The property included numerous gates, aluminum self-feeders, PVC pipe waterers, and several t-posts. Clay County Government did not file a police report when those items went missing. However, Dunn said the replacement of the missing steel gates alone cost the county about $9,200.

The comptroller’s office shared its investigation with the District Attorney General of the 13th Judicial District. Dunn said the district attorney
and his staff will review the investigation and decide if charges are necessary.

The employee formerly served as the Director of the Clay County Youth UT Extension Office but retired from that position in November 2016. According to the Comptroller’s report, he claimed to have been working 40 hours per week. Upon checking records, the Comptroller’s Office did not find any clear indication that he was performing any actual work for the county or 4-H programs. Instead of reporting to the UT Extension office, he often opted to spend his time at his residence, a gas station, or at the fairgrounds with his animals, according to the Comptroller’s report.

“One of the recommendations we have is that the county just get a better control and oversight of its employees’ activities,” Dunn said. “The County must make sure that it is providing adequate oversight over its employees to make sure that the time that they said they worked is actually done.”

Dunn said the individual also used the Clay County UT Extension office’s checking account to purchase over $3,000 of personal livestock feed.


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