EMS director resigns after questions on spending

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By Zach Johnson

Casey County EMS Director Malcolm Miller resigned after the Casey County Ambulance Tax Board of Directors said they lost confidence in him, due to alleged mishandling of finances.

Miller, who served as director since May 2016, resigned his position as director in a March 13 meeting.

According to meeting minutes, questions regarding irregular spending by Miller began in the February Board of Directors meeting. Board members in the meeting took issue with Miller purchasing items before getting board approval, his use of the district’s vehicle and his use of a Sam’s Club card.

“Board members discussed other issues with Miller being that any item purchased by the ambulance service, which is over and above a normal monthly expense, such as desks, computers, etc. must be approved by the board and the treasurer of the service must sign the check. The board discussed with Miller the fact that he was driving a Suburban owed by the ambulance service back and forth to work and was paying for the gas with the ambulance service’s Fleet one card. The board had not authorized that and instructed him to cease driving the vehicle to work and back home. The board discussed with Miller the fact that he is purchasing supplies for the ambulance service at Sam’s Club. … Currently the Sam’s Club card is being charged for the ambulance service Internet bill and the QuickBooks subscription, a monthly charge plus an annual fee. The board instructed Miller to close the Sam’s Club card and write a check for these services. The Board also instructed Miller the items, which he had purchased for the ambulance service such as computers, printers, and a tablet. Such items must have board approval before being purchased,” the minutes said.

One month later, at a March 13 meeting, Miller reported to the board that he continued to have the Sam’s club card in his possession to change the ambulance service’s internet service, told the board he was not driving the Suburban SUV to and from work any longer, that he would seek board approval before purchases. He then told the board about he was in the process of getting a refund from a fraudulent company.

“Miller reported that he continues to have the Sam’s Club card in his possession, which the board had instructed him to close at the February 13 meeting to close. Miller said that he is trying to change the Internet service before closing the card. He also told the board that QuickBooks might not accept checks as a payment method for paying their monthly fee. Miller told the board that a company posing as QuickBooks charged the service $999 for a three-year support services and updates. They also charged the service $60 for each payroll that was generated. Miller was in the process of getting the amounts refunded, as it was a fraudulent company. The actual charge for using QuickBooks should be approximately $400 per year. He was trying to reach them to see how to pay for the service without using the Sam’s Club card. Miller also told board that he was not driving suburban back and forth to work anymore. In addition, he told board that in the future he would not make any purchases without first getting board approval,” the minutes said.

However, in the same March 13 board meeting Board Chairman Kathy Hines told the board about information she had discovered after going through the Boards records since Miller had become director.

“Board Chairman Kathy Hines informed the board that she had gone through the ambulance service records from 2016 though the current date. She told the board that she found a lot of disappointing information regarding that information in those records. The ambulance service has incurred late fees in the amount of $2,614.52 on monthly payments. The ambulance service has incurred penalties and interested in the amount of $4,045.31 on federal tax deposits, which were filled late, and approximately $500 in penalties on the state taxes, which were filed late. Chairman Hines discovered a total of $7,158.60 in late fees and penalties. She told the board this did not include late fees on the Sam’s Club account, Windstream, Pitney Bowes, etc. Hines also noted that the City water bill has not been paid on time since Miller was employed as the director,” the minutes said.

After Hines gave this report Board Member Algie Atwood noted the money in the ambulance service accounts is taxpayer money and the board are responsible.

In response to Hines allegations Miller acknowledged that he did not have a good excuse or reason for why this has happened. He stated that sometimes his job responsibilities were overwhelming.

Hines then asked Miller if the Sam’s Card or the Fleet one card was ever used for personal use. Miller answered no. Hines then asked Miller to explain what vehicle he had put fuel in when the Suburban he had been driving was in the shop. Miller then admitted he had used to put fuel in his own vehicle. He stated that he did not realize that he had did wrong.

Hines next asked Miller to explain the purpose of a petition that was being circulated. Miller stated the petition was to keep him from quitting his job and that if he quits, other employees of the ambulance service will also quit.

Hines also discussed with Miller the fact that he was hiding purchases from the board by listing items of equipment as supplies on the monthly financial report. Miller told board he would leave if board wants him to leave and he asked the board to allow him to resign.

After a lengthy discussion Miller was informed by the board that the trust and confidence the board had placed in him had been lost as a result of his actions. Miller stated that he would resign immediately and submitted a letter of resignation.

Hines, who became chairman after the previous chairman stepped down due to health issues, became the Ambulance Serivces Director in February.

In a phone interview with the Casey County News, she said that she began to suspect misuses of money when she noticed several new items at the Ambulance Service that had not been given Board approval. She added that she was unaware how much gas Miller had been putting in the Ambulance Service’s SUV while he was driving it back and forth to work from his home.

Kenny Turpin has been named the acting director at the Ambulance Service while the board begins its search from a new one.