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Sevier Co. Utility District board suspends former VP's contract

6:55 PM, Aug 17, 2011   |    comments
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  • SCUD board meets August 17, 2011
    

The Sevier County Utility District board voted unanimously to suspend the contract of former vice president Jeff McCarter until his criminal case is resolved in the courts.

"It's not an easy decision to make. It's one of the harder decisions that I personally have had to make," said Ann Montgomery, board secretary.  

SCUD President Matthew Ballard gave board members three options; taking no action, suspending McCarter's contract, or terminating it.

"I think that was a realistic thing to do at this time," Ballard said of the board's decision. 

McCarter was indicted on official misconduct this summer.

He allegedly profited off the sale of a utility district truck.

The TBI alleges McCarter side-stepped the competitive bid process and personally profited from the trade-in of a truck that belonged to the utility district.

It happened back in December 2009.

An audit showed McCarter traded the truck to McNelly-Whaley Ford for $10,000 less than it was worth.

The TBI said he then bought the vehicle with his own money and sold it to Volunteer Chevrolet at a fair market price.

The district routinely trades in vehicles used for personal travel, including a GMC Denali currently out for bid. Work vehicles are sold at auction.

Now, board member Dr. Keith Whaley is asking if they should auction off personal vehicles as well.

"It could potentially keep that issue from arising in the future," Ballard said of the proposal. "I don't know until we try."

Since the comptroller's audit findings were released in March, Ballard said they've made a number of policy changes.

They include how the district handles petty cash, credit cards, and travel expenses.

McCarter's five year contract went into effect Feb 1, 2010.  It calls for him to receive $26.25 per hour for a minimum of 520 hours per year for consulting services in the natural gas procurement process.

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