City official searches for $700,000 missing from General Services division

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis' Chief Administrative Officer wants to know what happened to $700,000. The money is missing from General Services, and no one can explain where it went.

A General Services audit reveals a series of "deficiencies" involving Memphis City's "Fleet Services" and its "financial data."

"Billings, whether or not the charges were accurate, whether or not we overpaid or underpaid," Memphis CAO George Little said.

The audit found the division has understated income by $700,000 since last October.  The 68 deficiencies range from insufficient monitoring of money to lack of procedures and training, from clerks having access to change financial data to no mandatory training to conflicting expenditures and billing calculations.

"That would be akin to not keeping up with all the checks you write at home," Little said. "At some point, you're going to overdraw your money."

General Services has been under a cloud before the new administration stepped in.  Last year, the Memphis City council raked the head of the division over the coals for tricking out his Dodge charger.  Estrice Boone was one of the first directors the new mayor let go.

The new administration then began questioning Boone's use of a pricey oil additive and ballooning bills with the city's tire repair contractor.  Then, Arthur Adams, the man who stepped into Boone's shoes, was charged with DUI and reckless driving in a city vehicle.

According to Little, the city is planning big changes to clean up shop and get the department in order.

"As we consider our courses of action, whether they're disciplinary or charges, we will take into consideration the cooperation of any of the employees," he said.

Little said this is the time for employees who may be aware of inappropriate, improper or illegal activities to come forward.

Little added that the numbers were so troubling after the first audit, they decided to do a more in-depth investigation into the city's tire repair contractor, Around town Tire.  They hope to finish that second audit in July.

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