Monday, June 27, 2022
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Comptroller Investigation Notes Problems With Former UCHRA Director

A State Comptroller investigation report released Thursday has questioned travel and comp time of former Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency executive director Luke Collins.

Comptroller investigators have noted three problems related to the former executive director’s travel claims. Collins allegedly claimed he attended meetings in Nashville and Washington D.C., but documentation obtained by investigators did not support those claims.

As a result, Collins received a $706.77 reimbursement and charged $3,791.31 to his agency credit card for travel expenses when supporting agencies had no record of his attendance.

Investigators also determined the former executive director entered into legally binding agreements on behalf of UCHRA without prior board approval.

investigators noted two instances when the former executive director’s time sheets indicated he was working; however, social media posts indicated he was on trips out of state. The former executive director told investigators he used compensatory time for trips. Investigators believe he should have taken annual or sick leave when he was absent from work.

The report noted that the UCHRA Board’s Personnel Committee approved a motion to allow the executive director to use comp
time. Investigators reviewed the UCHRA Employee and Policy Handbook which establishes the “exempt” and “non-exempt” classification for all employees. Investigators believe, as an executive level employee, the former executive director was not entitled to earn comp time.

Additionally, the investigation found that the UCHRA also paid travel expenses in advance for board members, board members’ families, employees and employees’ families. In some instances, the travel expenses were not related to UCHRA business.

The UCHRA board of directors terminated Collins earlier this month.