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STATE NEWS 2019-12-11T01:20:01+00:00

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412, 2019

Former Germantown Middle School Majorette Coach indicted for theft

December 4th, 2019|0 Comments

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptrollers Office has found that Vicki Anderson, the former Germantown Middle School majorette coach, pocketed at least $1,418 in student fees that she wasnt authorized to keep.

Anderson collected at least $2,000 from students in May 2018 when she hosted a one-day summer camp at a local hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. The Shelby County School District was not aware the camp was being held, and Anderson was not authorized by the district to hold the camp or collect money from students.

Investigators determined that Anderson spent $582 for six hotel rooms and food. She kept the remaining $1,418 for herself. The school district not only requires prior authorization for activities held over the summer, it requires any money collected to be deposited with the financial secretary of the school.

Anderson was trained on proper financial procedures for school support organizations in August 2017.

The school system terminated Andersons employment on May 17, 2019. In November 2019, Vicki Anderson was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury on one count of theft over $1,000 and two counts of official misconduct.

To view the investigative report, go to: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/investigations/find.html

The school system terminated Andersons employment on May 17, 2019. In November 2019, Vicki Anderson was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury on one count of theft over $1,000 and two counts of official misconduct.

To view the investigative report, go to: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/investigations/find.html

 

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptrollers toll-free hotline at 800.232.5454, or file a report online at: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow us on twitter: @TNCOT

2611, 2019

Improving Access to mental health care in Tennessee

November 26th, 2019|0 Comments

Thousands of Tennesseans are in a mental health care gap –which means they have barriers (such as cost and coverage) to accessing services they want and need. I have dedicated thirty years to providing mental health services and alcohol and substance use treatment, and I have seen the negative impacts of that gap in care too often.

There is a diverse population that has had challenges accessing mental health care. Perhaps they do not qualify for TennCare or Veterans Affairs benefits or cannot afford commercial insurance coverage. Maybe there are no grant funds that match their particular need, or they only have a care plan where mental health services are very limited, tied to a high deductible or are not included at all.

However, in a hopeful new development, state lawmakers have widened the Behavioral Health Safety Net of Tennessee(BHSN of TN). Income eligibility for these services has expanded from 100 percent up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, while the required age has lowered from 19 to 18. I am excited and grateful for this positive step—it means our officials have heard the health communitys concerns, and now more people will get help.

For qualifying Tennessee residents, BHSN of TN services are accessed through a community behavioral health provider and may include mental health assessment, evaluation, diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, case management, transportation, peer support services, psychosocial rehabilitation, psychiatric medication medicine, pharmacy assistance and general care coordination.

Last year at Centerstone, my colleagues provided much-needed care to nearly 6,000 adults through the Behavioral Health Safety Net, helping individuals address issues like anxiety and mood disorders, substance use and relationship problems.

One example: Claudia, who did not have insurance, qualified for Safety Net funds. My colleagues provided mental health care services, arranged transportation to and from appointments, and coordinated care with her dialysis clinic, ensuring communication across all her health providers. After all, mental and physical health go hand in hand, and enhanced coordination leads to better outcomes.

When needed, BHSN of TN enables community mental health providers to visit an individuals home and help them navigate other social services they may require, such as food stamps, job searches and connection to other local supports. In Claudias case, Centerstone was ultimately able to help her receive TennCare benefits and pass along a donated heater that will help to keep her warm this winter.

State leaders have taken encouraging steps to expand accessibility to mental health care services, removing some of the previous barriers. There are resources to help individuals receive care that will change their lives. For more information, visit: tn.gov/behavioral-health/safety-net.

2611, 2019

DCS celebrates National Adoption Month in November

November 26th, 2019|0 Comments

NASHVILLE – In Tennessee, there are approximately 350 children and youth in the states care who are looking for a home to call their own through adoption. The majority are older teenagers in foster care who face futures without stable and caring families to guide them into adulthood.

Throughout November, the Tennessee Department of Childrens Services (DCS) has joined

child welfare agencies around the country in celebrating National Adoption Month to bring at

tention to the continued need for more foster and adoptive families –especially for teens

and sibling groups.

“Its been encouraging and inspiring to see Tennesseans come together this month to celebrate

adoptive families,”Commissioner Jennifer Nichols said. “During National Adoption Month, we

are also taking the opportunity to share with our communities how essential it is for of children

of all ages to have the love and support that comes with a family.”

Several DCS regions across the state have held National Adoption Month events. The Shelby

County office gathered more than 60 people last week for an annual “A Taste of Adoption”

event focusing on the joys, challenges and procedures of fostering with a highlight on adopt

ing. This week, Knox County held a celebration where seven different families finalized the

adoptions for 11 children. Several events are planned for this coming weekend and next week

in the DCS Southwest and Smoky Mountain Regions.

The federal Childrens Bureau designated this years National Adoption Month theme, “Youth Voices: Why Family Matters.” By sharing the perspectives of youth who have experience with foster care and adoption, National Adoption Month aims to empower communities to involve teenagers in planning for their own future to help them consider all of their options, whether it is the decision to pursue adoption or alternative permanency options such as guardianship.

It is not too late to help DCS spread these important messages. To arrange a media interview

with an adoptive family in your area, or for more information about the remaining planned

events across the state, contact Tiffany Jackson at Tiffany.N.Jackson@tn.gov.

Information on National Adoption Month: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/nam/

Information on DCS Foster Care & Adoption: https://www.tn.gov/dcs/program-areas/foster-care-and-adoption.html

2111, 2019

Ben Carson slams Maxine Waters: ‘Basic manners elude you’

November 21st, 2019|0 Comments

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson accused House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) of hypocrisy on homelessness today in a blistering letter charging her with lacking “basic manners.”

“My mother always taught me that people shouldnt throw rocks, especially while they live in a glass house,”Carson wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by POLITICO. “Because of that wise lesson, I was a little surprised to read your hostile letter to President Trump regarding the record number of homeless Americans in California, particularly in your district.”

 

Waters had writtenTrump on Oct. 28 demanding answers on reports that the administration is mulling moving homeless people off the streets in California.

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“Your shamelessness knows no bounds,”Waters wrote in that letter.

Carson threw the charge back at her today in his response: “Shamelessness is a career politician of 30 years laying blame,”he wrote.

“Shamelessness is allowing more than 55,000 Americans to live on the very streets they represent,”Carson added, referring to the homeless population of Los Angeles city and county.

“To me, the most compassionate, obvious, and logical solution would be to get as many homeless Americans off the streets —with a roof over their heads —as soon as humanly possible,”he said.

“I have sent multiple letters to your office and requested numerous meetings, but each time youve refused,”Carson wrote. “Basic manners elude you and it seems that instead of producing results, youre more interested in producing cheap headlines at the Presidents expense —like a true career politician.”

Waters‘office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He also alluded to the dust-up over his comments about transgender people this fall. Carson has maintained that he was merely repeating a concern that “big, hairy men”were trying to enter womens shelters and refused to apologize for the remark when he appeared before Waterscommittee last month.

“Shamelessness is allowing anyone other than a biological female into a battered womens shelter,”Carson wrote today.

2111, 2019

Money mishandled by UT Knoxville Spirit Team

November 21st, 2019|0 Comments

from TN Comptroller of the Treasury

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has revealed at least $1,580 collected by the University of Tennessee –Knoxville (UTK) Spirit Team was never deposited with the UTK Athletics’Business Office.

The Spirit Team is comprised of Smokey handlers as well as cheer, dance, and mascot teams.

The money was collected by Spirit Team personnel in 2017 and 2018 for a one-day clinic and cheer tryouts.

Investigators were advised that multiple personnel had access to the money collected, and sometimes individuals kept the money at their residences. Due to a lack of internal controls, investigators were unable to determine who was responsible for the missing money.

After investigators interviewed the Spirit Team Coordinator in June 2019, she claimed she found a packet containing $2,047 at her residence. The UTK Athletics’Business Office acknowledged it received this money on August 6, 2019. Due to the Spirit Team’s missing and inadequate records, investigators could not determine whether the $1,580 of missing money was part of the $2,047 the Spirit Team Coordinator found in her residence.

The results of this investigation have been communicated to the District Attorney General of the 6th Judicial District.

“Our investigators found numerous shortcomings in how the Spirit Team handled its money,”said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “These deficiencies included a failure to issue receipts, poor record keeping, and a failure to promptly deposit money. I’m pleased to note that UTK has indicated it has corrected these problems.”

To view the investigative report, go to: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/investigations/find.html

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800.232.5454, or file a report online at: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow us on twitter: @TNCOT

2111, 2019

Former Kingsport PTS official stole more than $5,500

November 21st, 2019|0 Comments

from TN Comptroller of the Treasury

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has resulted in Galloway’s indictment after investigators determined she misappropriated over 96% of funds raised by Kingsport community members intended for the elementary school.

The investigation began after PTA board members reviewed PTA checking account records and discovered suspicious transactions.

Galloway, who served several terms as president and treasurer for the organization, assumed control over all PTA financial responsibilities with no oversight from other PTA board members.

For three years, Galloway stole from the PTA by keeping fundraising proceeds for herself, making cash withdrawals from the PTA account for her personal use, writing fraudulent personal checks to herself, and using PTA funds to go on at least eight personal Walmart shopping sprees. These Walmart purchases included Easter baskets, cat food, candy, groceries, toiletries, hair products, cough syrup, and other personal items.

Galloway resigned from the PTA board in December 2017 after new members asked about unexplained financial transactions.

In October 2019, Donna Galloway was indicted by the Sullivan County Grand Jury on one count of forgery over $10,000, one count of forgery over $2,500, and one count of theft over $2,500.

“These actions could have been prevented if the PTA had adopted financial controls, as required by state law,”said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “Not only did PTA officials fail to separate financial responsibilities, but they also did not retain supporting documentation for many purchases.”

It should be noted that the PTA ceased operations at the end of the 2019 school year.

To view the investigative report, go to: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/investigations/find.html

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800.232.5454, or file a report online at: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow us on twitter: @TNCOT

2111, 2019

Health Chairman Bryan Terry appointed to TANF Working Group

November 21st, 2019|0 Comments

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) —HouseHealth Committee Chairman Bryan Terry, MD (R-Murfreesboro)has been appointed by House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) to a working group that will study Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) issues in order to acquire a better understanding of the needs and uses of this program.

“Chairman Terry is a champion for fiscal responsibility, and he has prioritized the needs of all Tennesseans during his tenure in our General Assembly,”said Speaker Sexton. “I appreciate his willingness to serve as a member of this working group, and I know he and his colleagues will do a great job identifying and creating innovative solutions that support citizens as they move away from government assistance and toward self-reliance and individual prosperity.”

According to recent reports, the state receives roughly $190 million every year from the federal government to be used for programs that support our working families and is currently operating with a substantial reserve. The newly created working group will determine how to best utilize these funds to create and support programs that are good for citizens and for our communities, while maintaining a reserve for the possibility of an economic downturn.

“Since I first learned about this financial situation within the TANF program, I have been working with Speaker Sexton and our colleagues to look for innovative and fiscally responsible ways that we can support our Tennessee families who are working to overcome obstacles standing between them and individual prosperity,”said Chairman Terry. “While we want to ensure a fiscally sound program and maintain a reserve so we are well positioned to serve a larger population should an economic downturn occur, I do believe there may be alternative and conservative ways to utilize this funding to better serve our constituents.”

In addition to Chairman Terry, Speaker Sexton has also appointed House Insurance Chairman Robin Smith (R-Hixson), House Tenncare Subcommittee Chairman David Hawk (R-Greeneville), and Representative Harold Love (D-Nashville) to serve.

“I set forth a four-step process in my committee that incorporates identifying the problem, setting goals, exploring options, and determining the feasibility of potential solutions. We are currently working through that process on this issue, and I believe this straightforward approach will result in determining the most pragmatic way to move forward in order to benefit Tennesseans. I am honored Speaker Sexton appointed me as a member of this important working group, and I look forward to helping families across Tennessee,”concluded Terry.

Bryan Terry, MD serves as Chairman of the House Health Committee. He is also a member of the House Insurance and the House Calendar & Rules Committees, as well as the Facilities, Licensure & Regulations, Mental Health, Public Health, and Tenncare Subcommittees. Terry lives in Murfreesboro and represents Tennessee House District 48, which includes a portion of Rutherford County. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Bryan.Terry@capitol.tn.govor by calling (615) 741-2180.