"In my view there was no wrongdoing on my part in accepting the money." - Rob Carnegie
All isn’t well at the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism office—not that anyone thinks that’s unusual; however, the TotallyDecatur has elected to cover the current debacle, so things must be especially rowdy at the moment. On the surface, there would seem to be at least three or four facets to the resignation of board member Kelly Kelley, so we’re electing to enumerate them in chronological order.
1. After the board agreed to hire Canadian Rob Carnegie as the new Tourism Director, a contract specifying wages, expenses, perks, etc. was drawn up. Board member Kelly Kelley is an attorney; after looking at the contract, she requested certain changes be made in regard to reimbursement of moving expenses, as well as other items. Kelley then left town on family business, only to find when she returned that no change was made to the contract—now signed and in effect.
2. Carnegie, promised reimbursement for six months of temporary housing in his contract (up to 8K), moved to the Shoals in October 2015 and spent three months in a local hotel before moving into his permanent home. At this point, the expenses Carnegie submitted didn’t total 8K.
3. In May 2016, the board wrote Carnegie two checks: one for 4.5K and one for 454.88. There was no documentation for either check, and the 4.5K check was recorded as salary.
4. In June, Kelly Kelley questioned the two May payments, asking why the board was not aware of the outgo in advance. Also questioned was why David Muhlendorf signed the checks which weren’t processed in the usual manner. Neither Assistant Director Alison Stanfield nor board attorney Elizabeth Messer was aware of the payments.
5. When the TD attempted to question Chairman Muhlendorf, he replied that he was travelling and didn’t have adequate cell phone service to carry on a conversation. (It must be tough to be so financially strapped that one can’t afford first rate phone service.) Muhlendorf did allegedly blame the accounting firm for mislabeling the 4.5K payment as salary.
6. Kelly Kelley resigned from the board, stating the irregularities in the two payments to Carnegie were only part of her reason for leaving.
7. Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock stated Kelley left the board due to personal reasons. Yes, apparently, she personally dislikes unethical shenanigans and the obfuscations used in an attempt to cover them up.
8. Rob Carnegie stated he wouldn’t comment on the situation, but then went on to offer his opinion anyway. Perhaps the word “comment” has a different meaning in Canada?
We’ve been told Carnegie’s contract is highly interesting. Perhaps the TD will request a copy and publish it?
Today Rodney Logan, a local pharmacist, pleaded guilty in federal court on charges of Medicaid fraud. The case has been four years in the making and caused changes in the compounding pharmacy business which still effect local pharmacies.