LOCAL NEWS

State Auditor Releases Scathing Report On Small Sanpete County Town

Jan 23, 2019, 5:26 PM | Updated: 10:35 pm

FAYETTE, Utah – There are several reasons to live in small towns.

Brenda Leifson knew right away she made the right choice to live in Fayette, in Sanpete County, nine years ago.

“It’s very quiet,” she said with a smile. “If you’re having a problem, you call somebody up and 90% of the time they’ll be there to help you.”

Fayette Town Hall

Sometimes, though, knowing everybody can make things harder when difficult decisions have to be made.

“It’s been tough. Like, it really has been tough,” said Leifson. “I have some supporters, some people that are happy that I found it.”

Leifson is the mayor of Fayette, a town of about 250 people just north of Gunnison off Highway 28.

Almost as soon as she got into office last year, she noticed something was wrong with the accounting the town clerk had been doing for almost nine years.

She had to say something.

“I knew what the right thing was to do,” said Leifson.

Wednesday, the Utah State Auditor released its report on the investigation into misuse of public funds in Fayette.

Even though former town clerk Tracy Mellor has already finished her 45-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to a check scheme where she took nearly $300,000 from the town, the auditor recommends the town needs to do better.

“Well, clearly some of the things are to put in the controls that should have been there in the first place,” said John Dougall, who is the Utah State Auditor.

Dougall says a town clerk and town treasurer shouldn’t be the same person, like Mellor was.

Also, Dougall isn’t sure how previous town councils and mayors didn’t catch her fraud.

Mellor was writing town checks to her husband’s company.

When the bank sent the canceled check back to the town for bookkeeping purposes, Mellor would place the logo or stamp of a company the town does business with over the name of her husband’s company on the check.

She would then photocopy the check and file the photocopy into town records.

“It looked like town officials were basically asleep at the wheel,” said Dougall. “I mean, if you look at a bank statement, if you see something or ask for certain financial records, you would quickly figure out something is amiss. This was not a complex theft. But, it’s just, they were just asleep at the wheel from our perspective.”

Dougall also recommends town leaders in place before last year resign, and if replacements can’t be found, the town should considerunincorporating.

“My next three years I hope I can just help Fayette repair and be a little better,” said Leifson.

She feels a small town like hers is worth fighting for.

“I know we can do it,” said Leifson. “I know that Fayette can do it.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Karah Brackin

Granite School District facing staffing shortages

Despite the pandemic, Granite School District’s spokesperson, Ben Horsley, said they have always needed more paraeducators. 
13 hours ago
Orem High School student council and cheerleaders getting ready to welcome their fellow students....
Matt Rascon

Thousands of students return to school in Alpine School District

The Alpine School District readies itself to welcome its 85,000 students back to the classroom.
13 hours ago
Follow @KSL_AlexCabrero...
Alex Cabrero

Provo sculptor to unveil latest creation at Little League World Series this week

For the first time, a team from Utah is in the Little League World Series. The tournament in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, will also feature a Utah sculptor who will be unveiling quite a statue.
13 hours ago
(Weber County Sheriff's Office)...
Madison Swenson

Vehicle recovered from Pineview Reservoir after leaving roadway

A vehicle was recovered from Pineview Reservoir Tuesday after authorities say it left the roadway.
13 hours ago
First responders at the fatal crash on Trappers Loop. (Mountain Green Fire Protection District)...
Michael Houck

Motorcyclist dead after crash, thrown ‘150 feet’ into embankment on Trappers Loop 

A motorcyclist is dead after a crash on Trappers Loop, causing him to be thrown down the embankment.
13 hours ago
Taylorsville police at the scene of the fatal shooting. (Taylorsville Police)...
Michael Houck & Karah Brackin

Police: Man, woman found dead in Taylorsville shooting

A man and woman were found dead with gunshot wounds in Taylorsville Wednesday morning, according to police.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
State Auditor Releases Scathing Report On Small Sanpete County Town