Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the investigation surrounding members of the city's water and sewer department.
Mayor Johnson said he met on June 11 at the city police department with an informant who used to work with the water and sewer department. During the meeting the person made several allegations that Johnson felt warranted an investigation.
The investigation turned up misconduct with a department head, an assistant department head and a supervisor, the mayor said.
Mayor Johnson says the investigation revealed that $28,000 was improperly spent by the employees, though he did not explain what the money was spent on. He said all steps are being taken to recover the money.
"With respect to water and sewer department employees, we have a water and sewer department head and an assistant department head who I no longer employ," the mayor said. "[and] one supervisor who is on administrative leave."
There were also four other employees who lied on their resumes, the investigation found, but officials say those employees were disciplined, not fired.
The mayor says new policies have been implemented to help prevent this type of action in the future.
While the investigation is not complete, the mayor said it has now been turned over to the Covington County District Attorney's office. The D.A.'s office said it was committing its own investigators to the case and will enlist the help of the Alabama Bureau of Investigations and the Alabama Ethics Commission.
A forensic accountant was brought in to go through the department's books.
"Over the last two and a half years, I have found myself called to investigate and prosecute a mayor, a utilities clerk, various other public employees, and now this," said District Attorney Walt Merrell. "We will not shy away from the task at hand," adding that he also plans to issue a full report to an executive session of the Utilities Board at the end of the investigation.
D.A. Merrell's office said he appreciated the full cooperation given by Mayor Johnson and the Andalusia Police Department.
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