Madison Utilities Superintendent accused of using city resources faces city council
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been edited to further clarify accusations against Lewis.
MADISON, Neb. -- A Madison city employee reportedly accused of using city time and resources to build his own home was the subject at the city council meeting Wednesday night.
A 44-year employee with the city, utilities superintendent James Lewis remains in the position, something that remained unchanged after Wednesday's city council meeting.
Wednesday's discussion followed the city's receipt of a 12-page letter sent by the Nebraska State Auditor's Office on May 26 detailing concerns about Lewis.
The report alleged Lewis and his subordinates of misusing municipal equipment, personnel and resources.
Lewis reportedly made personal purchases, either himself or through his employees, at Menards in Norfolk and Columbus which totaled over $5,500. None of the purchases were made using city accounts, though the auditor alleged that they were made during company time.
At the city council meeting, council members discussed the situation and if further action should be taken.
Mayor Robert Fite addressed the state auditor report and said the city will follow the recommendations of the state auditor by installing digital time clocks and not renting city equipment for personal use.
Tensions rose at the meeting as Paul Kellen and Rick Schommer debated on the amount of restitution Lewis paid.
Kellen asked the council if the amount of restitution agreed upon was the correct number. The amount was $390.
The restitution was previously agreed upon during a closed session with three council members present as Steve Ainsworth was absent.
Ainsworth apologized for not being present at the session, but said how he would like to focus on the future rather than the past.
Lewis said he would like to move on from the event, and ensured the proper steps will be taken to prevent this from happening again.
The council went into a closed session and the executive session lasted around an hour before the meeting was adjourned.