A week ago I had asked citizens of Hardee county if they thought it was ok for a City or County employee to drive a City or County paid vehicle on vacation out of state. I’m sure you can guess the response…..NO. So this brings me back to the City Manager here in Wauchula, Terry Atchley.
Summary of the Tahoe
Back in July 2016, Mr. Atchley approached City Commission asking for a New admin vehicle. Now remember we are a very small town, population Is around 4600. In the discussion he requested an SUV, the reason was “Because of where he has to travel and the things he has to do”. Minutes to that meeting can be found here.
In August 2016 it was decided and approved that the City purchase Mr. Atchley a brand new Chevy Tahoe. Minutes here. The only question at this point is why would they waste that much money on such a large vehicle that obviously eats a lot of gas. If you’re curious as to what they paid or rather you the taxpayer click here.
March 2017 a few of Mr. Atchley’s neighbors messaged me saying they had witnessed Atchley’s wife leaving their home driving this Tahoe without Mr. Atchley. This is when things started looking odd. Pictures were sent to me and that’s when I noticed the tag. Instead of having a normal City tag, his Tahoe has a Florida tag. After dozens of emails back and forth with FDLE and FLHSVM, we were convinced it was a confidential tag. However, after speaking with a news outlet, we were informed it was, in fact, a regular Florida tag. It’s odd tho, Why would the City Manager have a Florida tag on a City vehicle? I decided to call DVM and ask about the cost of the Florida tag over the City Tag. City tags are a one-time purchase and never expire. However, this Florida tag is a little more and has to be renewed every year, costing the City more money.
City Tahoe takes a vacation
A couple of weeks ago I was informed that the City Manager went on Vacation some time back in Dec 2016-Jan 2017. Nothing wrong with that except the fact I was told he took his family and his new City Tahoe out of state. Possibly Tennessee or North Carolina. Still not sure which. Anyway, I submitted a records request for Mr. Atchley’s fuel records. The City has a Fleet card sorta like a credit card for fuel. It requires you to enter your mileage on every fuel up. Below is Mr. Atchley’s Fuel records for Nov 2016 – Jan 2016. See anything odd? Oh, I added the Avg economy as a joke (Click here for the actual fuel records)
So from 12/22/2016 to 1/11/2017 he only fueled up once, yet put 2619 miles on it?
Even more curious I requested his paycheck stubs for the same time period. See stub below for pay period ending 1/13/2017….is that Vacation? (Click here for Payroll report)
Still not sure I requested the Vacation Leave form for Terry Atchley for those dates. See below. (Click here for actual Document)
So on Dec 22, Terry started his vacation, it’s also the same day he filled up the tank. Friday, Dec 23 and Monday the 26 were holidays so the City was closed. The entire next week he was on vacation. So the dates for the excessive mileage and his vacation are the same. Mr. Atchley put 2619 miles on his Tahoe while he was on vacation. But who paid for all the gas? There are no charges on his City Fuel card….So I sent requests for all gas receipts whether they are personal or business, his or his wife’s, as someone put fuel in that vehicle. I really doubt it got 122mpg during those dates I also have requested copies of his City Visa card to see if he charged fuel there but I doubt it. I’m betting he paid cash, which is ok, but still, this is abuse of City equipment. Does the City Insurance company know he took family members out of state in this city vehicle? What’s the liability to the taxpayers if there was an accident and for some reason, the City was sued? Is the City Managers family members also covered under the City Insurance Policy? I’ll request that as well.
So now it makes sense why he wanted a large SUV and the normal Florida tag. With that tag, no one will know it’s a City vehicle allowing him or his wife to drive it anywhere they like. I mean seriously, what’s commission going to do.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. But it does take someone to make it Public. It’s up to the Public to complain to the City Commission.
So I’ll ask the question again, Do you think the City Manager should be allowed to drive a City Funded, City Insured vehicle, out of State, on vacation with his Family? Or maybe the City can change the rules and allow ALL Employees the same benefit? The way I see it he’s Violating his own policy. City Policy Section 11.05 Item 21, Group Offense-Use of City issued equipment or uniforms when not on duty without permission of the City Manager or his designee. Or is he above his own policies?
A few days ago I emailed Commission asking if they approved, but of course, they never reply to me.
Funny story, years ago Atchley told all City employees that they could no longer drive City vehicles home. Only the directors could. One employee lived less than a mile from the City Warehouse and took his truck home one night. Mr. Atchley sent a Cop and another City employee to bring the truck back……But It’s ok for Atchley to take his out of state on vacation….
If you are a citizen here, email the Commissioners and ask them why they allowed this. Oh wait…..There’s no Commission Minutes that reflect this approval (that I could find)….But, email them anyway. Here are the emails for the City Commission.
District Seat 1 Neda Cobb firstname.lastname@example.org
District Seat 2 Russel Graylin Smith email@example.com
District Seat 3 Keith Nadasky firstname.lastname@example.org
District Seat 4 Kenneth Lambert email@example.com
District Seat 5 Gary Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Attention all Journalists. Call the city and question them on this. If you get results, email me at the address below.
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