State Auditor Shad White has announced that civil demands were issued to 12 current and former Canton Municipal Utilities employees totaling just under $102,000.
White’s office stated that an investigation ‘revealed widespread misspending practices’, with White saying that ratepayers deserve better.
“When this many people violate purchasing laws, you have an organization that needs to entirely rethink its practices. Typically we do not have cause to issue this many demands to a single organization, but that is the case here. Ratepayers and others who put their faith in Canton Municipal Utilities need to be made whole, and the people receiving these demands are personally responsible for paying this money back. I applaud our investigative team for working quickly and carefully to bring these problems to light,” said State Auditor Shad White.
The largest single demand was issued to the former executive director Kenneth Wayne Jones in the amount of $78,612, which includes an illegal severance settlement agreement paid by Canton Municipal Authority to Jones, and several electronic items.
Severance pay for public officials is prohibited by Mississippi statutes and has been addressed by the Mississippi Attorney General multiple times.
The remainder of the demands were issued to current and former board members after they voted to approve personal purchases made by Canton Municipal Utilities employees with a procurement card between November 2015 and November 2017.
One demand letter in the case has not yet been delivered.
The issued demands can be seen below:
Kenneth Wayne Jones – $78,612.81
The late Charles Weems – $4,308.00
Cleotha Williams – $3,722.20
Cleveland Anderson – $3,671.15
LC Slaughter – $3,542.02
Charlie Morgan – $2,370.49
John Noble – $1,937.51
Silbrina Wright – $1,239.50
Robert Chinn – $983.57
Simon Collier – $588.90
Miriam Koury – $458.94
Stacey Spencer – $394.67