Fort Smith Finds Discrepancy In Employee Tuition Reimbursement

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The City of Fort Smith offers college tuition reimbursement to its employees, but during a program audit the city's internal auditor found something wasn't right, said city administrator Carl Geffken.

Geffken said the city's current policy allows money for tuition reimbursement to be given to employees upfront at $1,287 per semester.

"In looking at that payment she realized that it didn't follow the proper protocol and policy," Geffken said of the city's internal auditors report.

Employees had to uphold a certain grade point average to qualify for the reimbursement. Geffken said most employees made the grades but a few did not and were still reimbursed.

"What had happened over time with gaps in personnel is that follow ups to get the transcript didn't occur," he said. "We are stewards of public money and we want to make sure everything is done appropriately."

The program, in respect to making changes, was supposed to be represented to the Fort Smith Board of Directors on Tuesday (Oct. 4) at a city meeting. Geffken said he has decided to ask that the discussion be tabled. He plans to take a look at the program and make changes before presenting it to the directors.

"Change slightly to make it $4,000 per semester per year with no semester requirement because there are so many semesters this day and age. Just look at UAFS," Geffken said. "That's why we are looking to balance it off. How can we make improvements and at the same time make sure we have adequate control?"