TN Comptroller releases findings of misconduct investigation against Ardmore Mayor
ARDMORE, Tenn. (WAFF) - On Thursday, the comptroller for the State of Tennessee released findings of a recent malfeasance investigation against the mayor of Ardmore.
According to the Nov. 3 report, the Comptroller’s office received reports that Ardmore Mayor Mike Magnusson used city equipment and employees on private property. The investigation includes evidence pertaining to an almost four-year span beginning in 2019.
Comptroller Jason Mumpower said in the report that “interviews with former and current employees revealed the mayor directed city personnel to perform work on private property.”
The report states “by giving direction to city employees to perform work on private property during normal work hours, to use city-owned equipment, without approval from the board of aldermen, the mayor violated the city’s Municipal Code 4-205.”
Examples of the work included:
- Street Department employees moving storage racks, tools, and children’s bicycles donated from a private barn to the city
- Street Department employees moving four truckloads of debris from personal property to a city-owned lot
- Street Department employees bush-hogging multiple private properties where businesses were then constructed
- Street Department employees installing kitchen appliances in an Ardmore, AL home
Municipal Code 4-205 reads as follows:
No municipal officer or employee shall use or authorize the use of municipal time, facilities, equipment, or supplies for private gain or advantage to himself or any other private person or group. Provided, however, that this prohibition shall not apply where the board of mayor and aldermen has authorized the use of such time, facilities, equipment, or supplies, and the municipality is paid at such rates as are normally charged by private sources for comparable services.
Mayor Magnusson told WAFF 48′s Matthew King, “there was no criminal intent.”
CITY COMPLIANCE DEFICIENCIES
The report concluded with two internal control and compliance deficiencies noted within the investigation.
Deficiency One: “City officials did not sign some employee timesheets as evidence of review and approval”
The comptroller found a number of instances where management did not sign the final timesheets of city employees. The report notes this practice increases the risk of improper payroll payments being issued.
Deficiency Two: “City officials did not follow or enforce Municipal Code 13-104″
Code 13-104 pertains to owners of private property shouldering the burden of periodically cutting grass or weeds on that property.
Every owner or tenant of property shall periodically cut the grass and other vegetation commonly recognized as weeds on his property, and it shall be unlawful for any person to fail to comply with an order by the city recorder or chief of police to cut such vegetation when it has reached a height of over one (1) foot.
The comptroller noted in the investigation results that the mayor directed city employees to cut overgrown grass on private properties. No evidence was found indicating other city officials requested the cutting of vegetation on these private properties.
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