STRONG — The Board of Selectmen is investigating employee use of town accounts with retailers.

“We have been made aware of people using the town account to make purchases without us knowing it,” Chairman Richard Worthley said in a phone call Monday.

The phone call followed a Freedom of Access Act request for invoices pertaining to purchases associated with two town departments and two individuals.

Worthley said the situation was brought to light when an invoice from Goings Electric Supply in Farmington Falls was received in the Town Office. He said an employee prepaid for a purchase using a personal credit card but used the town account and was not charged sales tax.

“The invoice was sent to us by mistake. That’s how we found out about it,” Worthley said.

The $1,175.70 invoice, dated Aug. 13, shows no sales tax was paid. The employee filed a separate receipt with the town on Aug. 22 showing $64.66 in sales tax was paid.

Worthley said the employee said such purchases were made “all the time.” Worthley specifically named Motor Supply Auto Parts and NAPA Auto Parts.

Terry Mooar, manager at Motor Supply on the Wilton Road in Farmington said it was not unusual for employees to use municipal, school or business accounts to prepay for personal purchases. Doing so allows for individuals to take advantage of discounts offered to employees.

Such purchases are always charged sales tax, Mooar said.

“We have spot checked a few other businesses and have not uncovered anything like this that has happened anywhere else,” Worthley said.

Personal use of town accounts is not addressed in the town’s Personnel Policy.

Worthley said selectmen do not consistently follow the Personnel Policy. He noted, for example, that the board voted 4-3 once to allow an employee to use a town truck to go home for lunch.

“It’s in our policy that employees not use town equipment for personal reasons. (Selectman) Rob Elliot and myself are against (waiving the policy,” Worthley said.

“Our town government is in a mess right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a lot that we don’t know about going on behind the scenes,” he said. We are still looking into it and our auditor is looking into it. No charges have been filed.”

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