Comptroller investigating Carter County animal shelter, audit details county accounting issues

ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) – Fraud, waste, and abuse. The Carter County mayor says those three things are what prompted an investigation into the county animal shelter.

Mayor Leon Humphrey says he called the state comptroller’s office to open that investigation. Since it began the community volunteer program has since stopped and some of those volunteers are not happy about it.

News Channel 11 obtained the report which identified ten problems in Carter County’s government records in 2015. The findings include issues with accounting records for funds the state said were not properly maintained for the offices of county mayor, director of schools, highway superintendent as well as finance director.

The audit also cited discrepancies with the office of circuit and general sessions court clerk as well as assessor of property. Beckie Nidiffer and Brittney Madden know the sounds inside the Elizabethton-Carter county animal shelter all too well.

“I was a volunteer for about three years,” Brittney Madden.

Nidiffer had been there for a little over a year but with a state investigation underway at the animal shelter, county Mayor Leon Humphrey ended the volunteer program.

He says the decision was made after an initial investigation done by the county in July uncovered a long list of potential wrong doing at the shelter.

“There was in my opinion, many cases of fraud, waste, and abuse,” Humphrey said.

The mayor says the findings of the county investigation gave him no choice but to ask the state comptroller’s office to step in. A response to the comptroller’s findings on the shelter investigation the mayor says “complaints were initiated by constituents”.

“That investigation is currently ongoing and it centers around a lot of the volunteer staff that was at the shelter at the time,” Leon Humphrey said.

Beckie Nidiffer says she and other volunteers were surprised by these findings at the county level ultimately they want what is best for the animals and in her opinion she says that is the assistance volunteers provide.

“Shelters need all the help they can get. there’s always going to be animals there that need extra attention that the staff doesn’t have time to give,”
Beckie Nidiffer said.

Current shelter director Shannon Posada was not working at the shelter when the investigation started but says there are practices that have been put in place to ensure the animals safety.

“The animals are not in harms way here. all of our animals here are healthy. they are number one top priority here,” Posada said.

Meanwhile volunteers like Beckie Niddifer and Brittney Madden will have to wait until the investigation is over before the mayor will consider allowing volunteers at the shelter again.

WEB EXTRA: Carter County Audit (.pdf)

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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