GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Greene County commissioners passed a resolution this week to require all volunteer departments that receive funding from the county to have audit committees.
County commissioners passed the resolution after money was allegedly embezzled from the Sunnyside Volunteer Fire Department.
“It was essentially left up to the 15 companies as to how they wanted to account for their finances, which up until just recently, we hadn’t had any problems,” said Greene County Mayor Kevin Morrison.
The resolution creates specific rules on how volunteer departments manage their finances, to make sure it’s done legally and responsibly.
“The resolution requires that they have at least a committee of three independent people,” said Morrison. “Those can be firemen in the department, or they can be community members.”
Other requirements of the resolution include departments maintaining a checking account with a local bank and reporting their finances to the county.
“That was the real big concern here,” said Morrison. “To establish some type of accountability and responsibility.”
Marty Shelton, fire chief at Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department, said he supports the new resolution.
“It just ensures the department as well as the community that we’re doing the right thing,” Shelton said. “That we’ve got those checks and balances and to make sure that everybody is handling the money that’s donated to the department to go to the right reasons.”
Shelton told News Channel 11 that they had already started handling their money in a way similar to the new resolution’s guidelines.
“Our finances are handled in conjunction with the city, but we’re doing steps ahead of this anyway to make sure that we have some checks and balances and some duplication,” said Shelton. “We want to make sure that if questions arise, that we can answer the departments immediately and to make sure that we’re doing everything honestly.”
The resolution goes into effect immediately.