FERRIER FILES: 8 former Decatur Co. employees, including mayor, face theft accusations
DECATUR COUNTY, Tenn. —
Tiny Decatur County is best known as the home of Holly Bobo, but it's also making headlines after eight former county employees are accused of stealing from the county.
Eight men and women, who held county jobs, took their first mugs shot ever.
“We have had a lot of cultural problems in West Tennessee in terms of when folks get in a small town, they think no one is watching," District Attorney Matt Stowe said. "They have a lot of years experience that has taught them that. It's good today there are folks watching, and if we find out we are going to do something."
Former Decatur County mayor Michael Smith charged with theft over $10,000 and forgery
His wife the county bookkeeper, the county mayor's secretary, the director of solid waste, the director of emergency management, the director of emergency services, the former chief deputy, and the former jail administrator; all part of the outgoing regime.
None of them are are current employees, and to some degree the alleged theft took place during the end of their tenures.
The eight people are accused of falsifying numbers to pay themselves taxpayer money they never earned using things like fake overtime and fake comp time.
“In Memphis or Nashville this wouldn’t be a lot of money, but in Decatur it is a lot of money,” Stowe said. "It's important for people to know that small counties count and that small dollars count especially in small counties, and there are going to be people watching."
Stowe said what broke the case were citizens reporting strange things happening in their departments.
“We have created a dialogue with the citizens," Stowe said. "We are listening to them, and we have just shown we will do something about it."