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Water board employee fired after audit

By Katie Nichols

Issue#
AUGUST 7, 2013

 

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A Mobile County water board employee is out of a job after a forensic audit found wrongdoing.

Mobile County Water, Sewer and Fire Protection Authority’s Office Manager Sylvia Hutto was terminated from her position. The decision was made during a board meeting Aug. 6. The reason for her termination came after DV Consulting did a forensic audit. Hutto was previously put on suspension for the same issue though neither the MCWSFPA nor its attorney, Jay Ross, would comment on the issue.

Oddly enough, Hutto seemingly wanted auditors to be able to do their jobs after one board member allegedly attempted to keep them from obtaining information. 

Lagniappe was sent a portion of a page from the forensic audit by an anonymous source. A person familiar with the document also confirmed it to be part of the report. 

In this portion of the report, it outlines the difficulty DV Consulting had with obtaining information and claims one board member attempted to thwart attempts for Shanahan or Wilson to collect information for the audit.

The report states a MCWSFPA employee told Darryl Wilson and Virginia Shanahan (owners of DV Consulting) he overheard Hutto tell Joe Summersgill, MCWSFPA general manager, that board member Preston Smith stated no one was to cooperate with DVC during the investigation. 

According to the portion of the report sent to Lagniappe, when Wilson asked Hutto if she told any of the employees this, she said she did tell "four or five” people. When asked the names of those she told, the report states Hutto mentioned three people. Then she said, "I mean I wasn’t shy about saying it so anyone within ear shot would have heard me because it pissed me off. How were y’all supposed to do what y’all were supposed to do if we’re keeping secrets?”

Hutto said Summersgill came into her office on June 17 and told her Smith said no one is to cooperate with the auditors during the investigation. 

Hutto was also involved in another MCWSFPA snafu when one of the water company’s backhoes sat on Nan Gray Elementary School property not far from the playground for five years. It was removed shortly after Lagniappe questioned the authority about it in August 2012. 

Hutto’s name came up again in the discussion when it was discovered she was listed as the vice president of Nan Gray’s PTO.

The backhoe was reportedly used for non-MCWSFPA work on the school’s property. When it broke down, the water company said the costs to repair exceeded the actual value of the 1995 Ford 555d backhoe. No one at MCWSFPA would comment as to why the backhoe, which was rusted with large amounts of vegetation around it and a sign reading "Teacher Parking Only” lying across its blade, wasn’t moved for five years from the elementary school. 

Lagniappe has requested a copy of the forensic audit and evidence supporting the findings, but it has not been made public yet. 

Updated Aug. 8 at 8:45 a.m.






 
willgill says:

AUGUST 8, 2013
8:29 AM
  Sounds like pure retribution to me.

What does Hutto's involvement with the PTO have to do with anything? Are they implying she somehow arranged the use of the Backhoe?

Why would the MCWSFPA not remove the equipment and why wouldn't the MCPSS not demand it or do it themselves?

The cost to repair the Backhoe exceeded the ACV? The tractor was 12 years old when it broke down. That excuse is pure BS.

The DA needs to launch a criminal investigation into the
MCWSFPA Board for obstruction, harassment and misuse of funds for allowing the equipment to sit unrepaired. Their inaction
contributed to the loss of value.

I believe Ms. Hutto will get her job back with back pay.
 

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What should be Mayor-elect Stimpson's top priority?

Examining the budget.
Evaluating city employees.
Addressing public safety issues.
Improving infrastructure.
Free fish plates.

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