The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –
A Tennessee Democratic lawmaker is calling for an audit of the state’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives after a report one of its board members received $4.7 million in state contracts.
Board member Aubrey Phillips and her Big Al Mowing Co. received the contracts despite not having prior experience in the mowing industry as she remains a board member of the department that received $1.2 million of taxpayer funds in this year’s budget, as previously reported.
Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, previously requested an audit of the department from the Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower, who responded and said that would be “premature” since the department was “self-funded” until July 1.
Mumpower noted the department would be considered for an audit next fiscal year.
“These unelected folks have unilateral spending authority over a million plus dollars of taxpayer money, so I thought providing a little transparency and accountability to hardworking taxpayers was more than fair to request,” Clemmons said. “Now we have these new media reports raising even more questions about the integrity of the people who have the power to spend our money however they wish. These reports only emphasize the importance of the transparency I initially sought.“
Clemmons noted he believes there should be a full review of the office and how it uses taxpayer funds.
About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.