Utility ex-director says he will fight part of audit demand

A former director of a city-owned utility says he will fight the Mississippi auditor's demand that he repay a severance package.

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 3:01 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A former director of a city-owned utility says he will fight the Mississippi auditor's demand that he repay a severance package.

Auditor Shad White said Tuesday that his office is demanding $78,613 from Kenny Wayne Jones, who served as a Democrat in the Mississippi Senate from January 2008 to January 2016 and then worked for Canton Municipal Utilities from early 2016 until January 2018, part of that time as director.

The auditor said severance pay to public officials is illegal. A demand letter issued last week by the auditor's office said Jones used a utility procurement card to buy a TV and another electronic device, and those weren't found during inventory.

Jones told The Associated Press on Tuesday the government utility has the TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick mentioned in the demand letter. He said he believes the severance pay he received is proper because he resigned and was not fired. Jones said his attorney negotiated what he would receive in severance pay.

Jones said he considers the auditor's demands to be "borderline slander."

"All of this had given me a black eye professionally when none of it was true," Jones said.

The auditor is also demanding payment of about $23,200 from 11 other current or former Canton Municipal Utilities employees for alleged misspending between November 2015 and November 2017. About $18,500 of that is for items the auditor said were for personal use; the rest is for interest and costs of recovering the money. One demand letter remains to be served.

White said the improper purchases at Canton Municipal Utilities included alcohol and gift cards.

"When this many people violate purchasing laws, you have an organization that needs to entirely rethink its practices," White, a Republican, said in a news release. "Typically, we do not have cause to issue this many demands to a single organization, but that is the case here. Ratepayers and others who put their faith in Canton Municipal Utilities need to be made whole, and the people receiving these demands are personally responsible for paying this money back."

The demand to Jones is for $75,428, plus $3,039 in interest and $146 in recovery costs. It does not specify how much of that is for the severance pay and how much is for the electronics.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 98190

Reported Deaths: 2969
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7189161
DeSoto569464
Harrison394175
Jackson358570
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Lee293572
Forrest254275
Jones252780
Washington227879
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Oktibbeha181952
Lamar176237
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Warren141850
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Monroe125369
Pike124954
Copiah119933
Scott118027
Coahoma117530
Lincoln112353
Marshall111821
Grenada110136
Holmes110060
Yazoo106733
Simpson105847
Tate101938
Union101224
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Pearl River91453
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Marion87537
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George78513
Tallahatchie78324
Newton78124
Winston74619
Tishomingo71039
Tippah70518
Chickasaw69524
Attala67225
Clarke61149
Walthall60426
Clay59919
Hancock59822
Jasper58415
Noxubee55816
Smith55115
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Tunica50015
Montgomery47020
Claiborne46516
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Lawrence43914
Perry43221
Quitman3905
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Stone38013
Humphreys37715
Jefferson Davis34711
Amite34210
Webster33913
Carroll33112
Wilkinson30818
Kemper29115
Sharkey26714
Jefferson2439
Benton2333
Franklin1993
Choctaw1876
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 138162

Reported Deaths: 2405
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson20221352
Mobile13558295
Tuscaloosa9029118
Montgomery8894187
Madison800580
Shelby616450
Lee601761
Baldwin564052
Marshall398345
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DeKalb246121
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Walker236987
Talladega219030
Limestone215720
Cullman192220
Dallas179926
Franklin179430
Autauga179127
Russell17903
Lauderdale175934
Colbert168426
Blount162915
Escambia162024
Jackson161112
Chilton160930
Dale141844
Covington141628
Coffee13936
Pike122011
Chambers117942
Tallapoosa117385
Clarke110916
Marion97629
Butler91740
Barbour8967
Winston75112
Marengo72820
Pickens67215
Randolph67213
Bibb66411
Lowndes65927
Hale65328
Geneva6505
Lawrence63625
Cherokee62013
Bullock61015
Clay5929
Monroe5928
Washington56012
Crenshaw54532
Perry5436
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Wilcox53211
Henry5145
Macon48318
Fayette47311
Sumter43419
Cleburne4085
Lamar3822
Choctaw35212
Greene30615
Coosa1743
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