Lincoln Co. workers received unapproved bonuses for years - WSMV Channel 4

Lincoln Co. workers received unapproved bonuses for years

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FAYETTEVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

An audit released Monday by the state comptroller's office said the Lincoln County Board of Public Utilities used ratepayer money on unapproved bonuses, bill adjustments and other questionable expenses.

Bonuses were routinely given around holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July.  Some employees received bonuses almost weekly from 2008 through 2011, said the report.

The state said the utility's former superintendent didn't have board approval to distribute nearly $300,000 in ratepayer money for bonuses.

Employees sometimes received bonuses for doing routine parts of their jobs, such as reporting water theft.

Some employees received overtime pay even when they didn't work extra hours, said the state.

Employees also received bonuses through random drawings and marble handouts.  One employee received a bonus for "adultery watch," which apparently involved monitoring another employee during work hours.

The former superintendent is accused of giving more than $13,000 in discounts on water bills and new water taps to utility board members, employees and some customers.

Nearly $4,000 of those adjustments were given to volunteer firefighters who attended annual dinners held to "foster good will between the utility and local fire departments."

The investigation said that board members were overpaid more than $12,000 for attending board meetings, work sessions and "road trips."

The former superintendent and former office manager made more than $10,000 worth of questionable credit card charges to the district, including more than $5,000 for meals for employees who were not traveling or conducting official business.

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