Union Head: Don't ‘Rush to Judgment' Over Fuel Use | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Union Head: Don't ‘Rush to Judgment' Over Fuel Use

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A Laurel newspaper will close its doors this Thursday.

Brenda Scott, president of the Mississippi Alliance of State Employees, a workers' union, issued a press release warning the Jackson City Council not to jump to conclusions regarding recent allegations of fuel card abuse, as reported Dec. 2 by the Jackson Free Press. According to council members, 945 of 1,088 city employees with access to gas cards were not keeping track of the odometer readings at fill-ups during the months of July, August and September. Other records show more than one refueling on the same vehicle in one day, or reveal employees putting 50 gallons of gas in a vehicle built to hold no more than 20 gallons.

Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill pointed out that Fuelman records also show more than 3,000 "manual key-ins," or incidents of fuel-ups without benefit of photo ID or the presentation of the city's gas card to the station attendant.

Scott said some council members had made a "rush to judgment," on the matter.

"The workers resent these observations being made … and feel their reputations are being disparaged without an appropriate in-depth investigative effort being concluded," Scott said in the statement.

She added that the derogatory comments made "in the absence of investigative fact" pushed public opinion into believing city employees to be "other than honest."

Many council members seek to hold the city administration accountable on the issue, accusing department heads of ultimately ignoring Fuelman reports indicating possible fuel fraud for months.

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