Double pay allegations spark TBI investigation - WRBL

Double pay allegations spark TBI investigation

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The Hawkins County Board of Education is dealing with a flood of it's own - a flood of financial burdens they're now desperately trying to navigate.

Hawkins County Schools Finance Director Myron Dale was fired last night, after plunging the board $166 thousand dollars deep into federal fines. This comes on the heels of 18 county school employees finding themselves at the center of a TBI investigation.

About two weeks ago, we're told the school maintenance supervisor approached the board with allegations full-time school employees were also being paid full time for their work as bus drivers. In essence, reaping the benefits of being paid as though they were in two places at once.

"You're claiming that you're there, you're signing off that you're there, and you're working and you're not - you're basically stealing from the county," District Attorney Berkley Bell said.

Stealing from the county, and out of the pocket of taxpayers - steep allegations brought forth, calling into question the integrity of at least 18 workers.

Still on the clock, but showing up late and leaving early to drive buses, where they then receive another set of pay.

"So they were being paid for the maintenance work that they were not performing," Bell said.

TBI has begun their investigation, and they've asked that the comptroller's office become involved because various records needed from the school system.

"Once we had an awareness from TBI, of course Hawkins County Board of Education is checking into this also," Director of Schools Charlotte Britton.

At this point it's too early on to say how much could be at stake.

"We don't know if they are true, we don't know to what extent they're true, how many people are involved, and the amount of money that might be involved," Bell said.

"If in fact there were anyone that would have been paid for a job through the Hawkins County Board of Education - and paid at the same time to be a bus driver - then we wish to correct that immediately," Britton said.

In our talks with Bell, TBI's investigation could prove to be a lengthy one. Each of the 18 employees involved in the investigation will have to go through various interviews - in addition to the state looking at their payroll and time sheets.

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