An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has resulted in the indictment of Ronald Garzarek, the former fire chief for the City of Franklin.
Comptroller investigators determined that Garzarek traveled 3,350 miles in his city-owned Chevrolet Tahoe between February 27, 2020 and March 16, 2020 (13 business-days). A review of Garzarek’s calendar showed the former fire chief had no apparent business purpose for the excessive amount of mileage driven. Garzarek did not use the city fuel card for any purchases during the 3,350 miles driven.
The City of Franklin’s policy states that a “take-home vehicle should be used primarily for commuting and city-related business.” While the policy also allows for other de minimus use, it does not define this usage.
The investigation also revealed that Garzarek worked remotely out of state without authorization beginning in March 2020. Although Garzarek was available by phone and was present for video conference meetings, he had never received approval to work out of state.
Ronald Gazarek resigned from his position effective June 16, 2020. In August 2021, he was indicted by the Williamson County Grand Jury on one count of official misconduct.
“All government entities in Tennessee must provide oversight when they authorize staff to take home vehicles,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “This would include regular monitoring of mileage and having clear policies about the acceptable use of city-owned assets.”
To view the investigative report, go to: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/investigations/find.html
If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800.232.5454, or file a report online at: tncot.cc/fraud. Follow us on twitter @TNCOT and Instagram @tncot