NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – After investigating multiple years of records, the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office released the findings of an investigation into the Hawkins County E911 system on Monday.
The report, compiled by the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury, was published April 4 and sent to the desks of Governor Bill Lee, TN Attorney General Herbert Slatery III, District Attorney General of the 3rd Judicial District Dan Armstrong and various state legislators.
Within the document, Comptroller Jason Mumpower outlines multiple discrepancies under former Hawkins County E911 director Gay Murrell through 2017 and 2020.
You can find the full report below:
The report focuses on two areas of concern, one financial and one operational. During Murrell’s time as director, the report alleges that multiple finance policy violations occurred:
- Murrell granted 18 hours of compensatory time to an employee for painting her family member’s home in 2019. The report adds that district policy does not allow comp time, nor did the board approve the work. Additionally, the employee told investigators that they didn’t request or use the time.
- At least 93.25 hours of Murrell’s sick leave time was transferred to another family member in the district and was used at a cost of $1,595.
- Two employees were allowed to build up significantly more vacation and sick leave time than their position allowed after switching from 12-hour to 8-hour shifts. Over $4,000 in excess costs to the district were billed from 2017 through 2020.
- An employee was paid $7,858 for nearly 500 hours of unused vacation time, despite no policy allowing payment for unused hours.
- Nearly 200 hours of excess holiday leave were granted to two employees, at a cost of over $4,000.
- 99.5 hours of excess bereavement leave were split between three different employees, at a cost of $1,602.
- Murrell received at least seven advance payments from 2017 to 2020, the earliest of which was five days before her scheduled payment.
In addition to the financial allegations, the comptroller’s report states that Murrell failed to train dispatchers and maintain their certification. After an audit by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, it was discovered that seven of the 11 dispatching employees were uncertified for Emergency Medical Dispatching during November 2019.
Because of the lack of certification, the district went five days without emergency medical dispatch services while staff was retrained.
The audit and training process cost the district over $10,000.
“The director failed to comply with or administer the board’s policies,” the report reads. “To adequately perform the responsibilities entrusted to her, the director should have implemented and enforced the provisions of approved policies.”
At least $5,704 in expenses were logged in the district bank account without proper documentation throughout the period in question, and investigators say they could not determine whether or not those funds were used for district purposes.
Murrell was fired from her position by a board vote on March 12, 2020.