Sunnyside Employee Accused of Using Tax Dollars To Buy Car Parts - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Sunnyside Employee Accused of Using Tax Dollars To Buy Car Parts

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The City of Sunnyside has discovered that one of their employees may have been mismanaging city money. The City of Sunnyside has discovered that one of their employees may have been mismanaging city money.

SUNNYSIDE, WA - You want your hard earned tax dollars to be put to good use but that isn't always the case. The City of Sunnyside has discovered that one of their employees may have been mismanaging city money.

The City of Sunnyside is in the middle of an investigation into a public works employee who is accused of using tax dollars for personal purchases. The employee was possibly using city money to buy parts for his car.

In Sunnyside some city tax dollars may have been used for an employee's personal shopping spree.

"Some processes were probably not follow as tightly as they should have been," City Manager Donald Day said.

New City Manager Donald Day had been on the job only four months when a Sunnyside resident gave him a tip about an unusual purchase. The caller said a public works employee bought a few hundred dollars worth of parts for a Hyundai vehicle at the city's expense. 

There's just one problem. The city doesn't own any Hyundai's.

"It's very beneficial when citizens come forward and tell us what we're doing wrong and what we're doing right quite frankly," Day said.

After immediately placing the employee on administrative leave, investigators discovered there could have been more purchases potentially worth up to a couple thousand dollars in the past year alone. This leaves some Sunnyside residents worried about where their tax dollars have been spent.

"It's almost like a slap in the face to all the people that live here," Sandra Vargas said. "If one person can do it then what's to say that nobody has done it in the past and gotten away with it."

Day says the city has had money issues for some time. With a carousel of city administrators coming and going there was little time for any consistency and that led to problems.

"It was a ship without a captain," Day said. "There was no direction. We were at the whim of the currents."

Day's job now is to right that ship. The city will finish its investigation in the next two weeks. A criminal investigation could follow, lasting up to 6 more months and may lead to formal charges.

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