CCSO Audit: improper food consumption, bad tire storage

Published 3:57 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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The Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office got its hand firmly smacked by Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Jason E. Mumpower during the county’s latest Annual Audit Report. And it all centers on events transpiring among employees of the maintenance garage.

According to the Report for Fiscal Year 2021-22, non-jail employees were found to have benefited from food purchased for jail employees only.

According to the report, certain garage workers told investigators that food purchased through the jail was sometimes delivered to the garage. One employee said he had requested and received food from the jail and that he had prepared and ate meals – at no cost – at the garage three or four times per week.

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The employee added that inmates sometimes prepared food inside the garage.

The report states that the employee had primarily requested hamburger meat, hotdogs, eggs, sausage, bacon and biscuits. The food was sometimes used to feed inmates that worked in the garage or were part of the litter and mowing crews with other department staff reportedly in on the consumption. Other employees, including management, told investigators they recalled having eaten meals at the garage, according to the report.

“Due to the lack of records and lack of controls over food inventory at the jail and at the garage, investigators were unable to determine how often inmates and department personnel ate meals at the garage, or if the food sent to the garage was used exclusively at the garage or taken for personal use,” reads the report, in part.

As of January 2022, the report states that the sheriff no longer allows food purchased for the jail to be delivered to the garage.

The original policy was put into place for safety considerations that include the improper handling of food by inmates. Any delivery of food must undergo health inspections and be free from the threat of communicable or infectious diseases, according to the audit report.

The comptroller also found a deficiency having to do with maintaining adequate controls over consumable assets – in this case, tires.

According to the report, garage personnel did not maintain inventory records or account for consumable assets such as tires, oil or other supplies.

“A lack of accountability over consumable assets increases the risk of inventory loss. Management should maintain a current inventory of consumable assets purchased for the garage,” reads the report.

Claiborne Sheriff Bob Brooks said in an interview that this deficiency has been corrected as well.

The Comptroller performed its investigation using select records from the CCSO dating from July 1, 2021 through Oct. 31 of 2022. The results were handed over to the Office of Attorney General for the 6th Judicial District, who was chosen Pro Tem in this matter.

The Audit Report includes findings for the Claiborne County Finance Office and the Office of the Circuit, General Sessions and Juvenile Courts Clerk which will be covered in an upcoming article.