Morristown Utility Systems proposes changes following WATE 6 On Your Side investigation

MORRISTOWN (WATE) – Morristown Utility Systems announced changes to policy following a 6 News investigation.

In a letter to Morristown City Council, MUS CEO Jody Wigington outlined a series of initiatives to tighten business practices and improve accountability.

Last week, city council member LeBel asked the city administrator to send a letter to Wigington asking them to give an update on the plan to address spending following the 6 News investigation citing inquiries from constituents.

“We understand the concerns of City Council and customers and always strive for continual process improvement,” Wigington said in the letter.

He outlines two initiatives to address concerns.

The first is a revision of the travel policy which they will recommend to the Board at the June meeting.

“With input from our auditors, the policy will be consistent with the State of Tennessee and MTAS. In short we will move away from credit cards to a per diem for meals which should remove all questions related to these types of expenses,” the letter states.

In our investigation, we found several meals in excess of $200, like a February dinner at The Stock Yard in Nashville that included steaks that cost $80 a piece.

“The policy will address supervisory review and pre-approval. MUS policy will continue to only cover business related expenses,” the letter states.

In our investigation, we found several instances where the company charge card was used for in-room movies. It was often used to purchase flights for family members of employees and board members, but those were reimbursed.

Wigington says they will more closely monitor training activities to ensure the conferences are selected that are most beneficial to business but says they will ensure any reduction in training is not counter-productive to our mission.

The letter says in the coming weeks they will also make a detailed review of purchasing card activities regarding local meals and the annual company banquets.

More: Morristown Utility Systems’ report to city council

Documents provided by MUS showed they had a budget of $33,956 for banquets in 2013 and $35,525 in 2012.

“We have an excellent and experienced Board of Commissioners and their leadership has supported the creation of multiple jobs in our community,” Wigington says.

Wigington says MUS and the Board welcome constructive criticism and will continue to work to improve the way they do business.

The board meets again on June 26 and is expected to vote on these proposals.

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