By Amye Anderson
UCBJ Managing Editor
COOKEVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Transportation is joining the growing roster of organizations investigating allegations against the Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency and its executive director, Luke Collins.
The recent allegations against Collins – who was placed on paid administrative leave by the agency’s executive committee Tuesday – drew the attention of TDOT. A memo dated Feb. 20, and addressed to Collins, details TDOT’s intent to “perform a forensic accounting review of transit-related subrecipient reimbursements.”
Beginning today, auditors will be combing through at least a dozen grant contracts to determine if the costs submitted for reimbursement are allowable and reflect actual program requirements. Those 12 grant reimbursements range from January 2017 through Feb. 20, 2018.
Auditors will also meet with UCHRA staff and management during the investigation process.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Flynn, TDOT’s Region 2 Community Relations Officer, tells the UCBJ that TDOT will continue to reimburse UCHRA’s direct expenses for transit service – fuel, transit staff salaries and the like – in order to avoid any disruption to transit service. However, TDOT will “employ a heightened level of scrutiny in reviewing invoices” from the agency.
The future of the current-active TDOT-issued grants will be determined once the audit is complete. That, Flynn says, is expected to take several weeks.
“Timely completion of the review will depend on your responses to inquiries, availability of requested information, and validation of audit findings,” said Mel Marcella, TDOT’s Director of Internal Audit.