State audit uncovers free utilities for town officials - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

State audit uncovers free utilities for town officials

PAOLI, Okla._An audit, initiated in response to a citizens’ petition, shows the Board of Trustees in Paoli, Oklahoma, received free utilities.

Paoli, a small town in Garvin County near Paul’s Valley with a population of 649 during the 2000 census, is the subject of a recent state audit after residents expressed concerns over free utilities, nepotism and a variety of other violations.

“The Board Members and employees for the Town of Paoli and the Paoli Municipal Authority appear to have benefited from a vote to exclude town employees from being required to pay for utility service. The meeting minutes both enacting, and then later rescinding, the free utility service benefit failed to mention that board members were also benefiting from the ‘employee’ benefit,” the report stated.

Residents were concerned after members of the Board of Trustees voted to exclude themselves from being billed for water, sewer and trash services in May 2014. Mayor Juanita Mata explained that on July 14, 2014, a motion was passed to exempt town employees from being billed for utilities; the motion passed unanimously.

A report provided by Paoli shows that each of the five board members were either not billed, or billed and had the amount adjusted off from August 2014 until January 2015. The audit shows Mayor Mata was billed $61.94 for utility services on August 1, 2014, and that amount was removed from her bill the same day. A similar occurrence happened for four board members.

On January 28, 2015, the Board of Trustees voted on and approved a measure to “secede employee’s receiving free water.” The mayor and four other board members received anywhere between $217.80 and $421.29 in exempted utility payments. The total came to $1,728.98.

Robin Newton, the town’s independent financial, asked the board about their exemption because the measure they passed only stated town employees and not board members.

Residents also brought up concerns of nepotism when Londa Beckelheimer, the town’s clerk/treasurer, appointed the mayor’s daughter as a deputy clerk/treasurer.

Garvin County District Attorney Greg Mashburn’s office says they have not reviewed the audit report yet.

Additionally, the audit addresses concerns that the town violated the Public Competitive Bidding Act and Records Management Act, collected fees improperly for traffic violations, failed to read water meters, falsified water testing records, theft of gasoline by a former employee and unpaid payroll advances. You can read the audit report here.

  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Former US security leaders blast Trump for yanking clearance

    Former US security leaders blast Trump for yanking clearance

    Thursday, August 16 2018 12:50 AM EDT2018-08-16 04:50:48 GMT
    Thursday, August 16 2018 11:59 PM EDT2018-08-17 03:59:46 GMT
    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File). FILE - In this May 23, 2017, file photo, former CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force. President Donald Trum...(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File). FILE - In this May 23, 2017, file photo, former CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force. President Donald Trum...

    Trump also threatened to yank the clearances of a handful of individuals, including former top intelligence and law enforcement officials, as well as a current member of the Justice Department.

    Trump also threatened to yank the clearances of a handful of individuals, including former top intelligence and law enforcement officials, as well as a current member of the Justice Department.

  • Bodies of missing wife, daughters found in Colorado

    Bodies of missing wife, daughters found in Colorado

    Thursday, August 16 2018 4:05 AM EDT2018-08-16 08:05:05 GMT
    Thursday, August 16 2018 11:59 PM EDT2018-08-17 03:59:28 GMT
    The man's pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste were reported missing Monday.The man's pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste were reported missing Monday.

    Authorities say the husband of a missing family in Colorado has been arrested in connection with the case.

    Authorities say the husband of a missing family in Colorado has been arrested in connection with the case.

  • Pentagon delays Trump's military parade until at least 2019

    Pentagon delays Trump's military parade until at least 2019

    Thursday, August 16 2018 2:16 PM EDT2018-08-16 18:16:40 GMT
    Thursday, August 16 2018 11:59 PM EDT2018-08-17 03:59:09 GMT
    Military units participate in the inaugural parade from the Capitol to the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Military units participate in the inaugural parade from the Capitol to the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    A U.S. official says the Veterans Day military parade ordered up by President Donald Trump would cost about $92 million _ more than three times the maximum initial estimate.

    A U.S. official says the Veterans Day military parade ordered up by President Donald Trump would cost about $92 million _ more than three times the maximum initial estimate.

Powered by Frankly