Tag Archives: equipment

State government missing more than $12M worth of property

Property valued at more than $12 million — 5,366 different items — are currently classified as missing inventory in various parts of state government, according to a state comptroller’s review that is the subject of a WSMV TV report.

The list spans 38 divisions of the state, from agencies to commissions. The most commonly missing property?
Computer parts, followed by printers and radio repeaters. (Note: The full 5,366-item list is HERE.)

Other items are more surprising, including four cash registers unaccounted for by the Department of Education, six golf carts missing from the Department of Environment and Conservation and even a GPS lost in the heavy brush, courtesy of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

“It seems like the state should be able to keep track of that stuff,” said Alex Vey, a taxpayer.

The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury agrees. Every four to six years, its auditors review how agencies protect their property.

“It’s important to understand that all of this is a state asset, and it was paid for mainly by taxpayer dollars and that’s why it’s so important to safeguard this property,” said John Dunn, spokesman for the Comptroller’s Office.

But nothing in state law dictates how departments recover their inventory. Instead, it’s up to each department to track down its own assets.

Most agencies have what’s called property officers. If something can’t be located, they try finding it. For example, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security is still looking for two M-14 rifles.

Spokesperson Jennifer Donnals pointed to a lack of oversight.

“Two employees were disciplined over this issue,” Donnals wrote in an email. “One retired immediately and the other was suspended and transferred to a different assignment. We do not know the location of the rifles and that remains under investigation.”

If property is lost or stolen, they file a police report, or in some cases, like at TWRA, employees might pick up the tab, if they’re found at fault. And even those policies vary by department.

“People are human. People are going to misplace things, and there are times when things may even be stolen,” Dunn said.

But many departments claim their “missing” inventory isn’t exactly missing.

With more than 1,100 items, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security tops the list. In an email, a spokesperson explained that many of the items were considered surplus, which means they were sent to another agency or auctioned off. The spokesperson said many items were disposed of without the proper paperwork.

Bill Bans Tobacco, Tattoo Equipment In Jails

Smuggling or possessing tobacco and tattoo-making equipment at a state prison or local jail would be a crime under legislation introduced by two Hamilton County lawmakers, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, and Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, (HB1165) updates and adds to the list of items deemed contraband under state law. The legislation applies not only to prisoners but everyone coming into the facility.
Carter said Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, a member of the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association’s legislative committee, brought the bill to the lawmakers.
An attorney and former judge, Carter said he can see the need for the legislation and is happy to sponsor it.
“Cigarettes are the currency for corruption in jails,” said Carter, also a one-time top assistant to former Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey.
Hammond said current law needs updating to cover emerging problems.
“We stopped smoking a long time ago,” Hammond said. Prisoners are prohibited from using tobacco products in prisons and jails. “But you still get it as contraband. This will not only assist us in dealing with the prisoners but in the event — and I’m not saying it has happened anytime lately — we had an officer who was slipping it into the jail.”
Hammond said the “biggest issue for us lately is the tattoo stuff, homemade tattoo equipment where you sit around and tattoo everybody from A to Z.”

Local Disaster Efforts Funded by Federal Dollars

In dealing with floods, tornadoes and other natural disasters, states are relying heavily on equipment purchased with federal homeland security grants, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Tennessee has received more than $270 million in homeland security grants, said Rick Shipkowski, the state’s deputy homeland security adviser.
“In the last 10 years, Tennessee has developed unprecedented capabilities across the state, in large part because of these homeland security grants,” Shipkowski said.
…Those dollars have paid for an amazing variety of equipment, from mobile command posts to chemical/biological/radiological detection equipment to mundane items such as boots, gloves, flashlights and batteries.
(Troy) Spence said Bradley (County) used some of its money to add more communications consoles at the county 911 center. When the tornadoes hit on April 27, there were 10 operators on duty instead of the usual five, he said.
“That was definitely a blessing,” he said.
The focus for spending the federal dollars has been on supplies and equipment that can be used every day, said Hamilton County Emergency Services Director Tony Reavley.
“It’s not just setting on a shelf, waiting for something; it’s something we can use on a day-to- day basis,” he said