Carter County Schools

Joyce Parsons

ELIZABETHTON — Although a former employee of the Carter County School System was indicted last week on one count of theft over $2,500, the problems reported by the state comptroller of the Treasury has already been corrected, according to Director of Schools Tracy McAbee.

The investigation was limited to selected records for the period from July 1, 2017 through January 31, 2020. That was prior to the time when McAbee assumed the role of director of schools. He said it was also prior to the appointment of LeeAnn Carr as the new director of the Head Start program in Carter County.

The results of the comptroller’s investigation was released on Monday. It reported that Joyce Parsons, a former administrative assistant of the Head Start program had misappropriated funds totaling $8,657. She is accused of using Head Start purchases to make at least $8,657 in unauthorized personal purchases that included clothing, groceries, cosmetics, household goods, and personal hygiene products.

The investigation found that Head Start management did not provide adequate oversight of operations and did not establish internal controls. The investigation also found purchasing deficiencies, including the failure to properly issue purchase orders and failed to ensure that the accounts were promptly paid in full and incurred late fees of $535.

Finally, the investigation found the former Head Start director did not document a review and approval of travel expense claims.

McAbee said these deficiencies have been corrected and proper internal controls are now in place.

"We appreciate that Head Start officials reported this activity to our Office," said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. "I am also pleased to see that they are taking steps to improve management oversight, the purchasing process, and the review and approval of travel and expense claims."

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John Thompson covers Carter and Johnson counties for the Johnson City Press since 1998. He grew up in Washington County and graduated from University High and East Tennessee State University

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