SALT LAKE CITY — A bill written in direct response to a scathing state audit that found a former Unified Fire Authority boss spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to buy expensive electronics for his own personal use is on its way to the governor's desk.
The Utah Senate on Friday gave final legislative approval to HB163, a bill that came at the request of State Auditor John Dougall and Utah prosecutors, who declined to file criminal charges last year after concluding prosecution would be difficult under current Utah code.
Auditors concluded former Utah Fire Authority Deputy Chief Gaylord Scott used his Unified Fire Authority purchase card to buy $23,000 worth of electronic items between 2012 and 2016, including Apple Watches, MacBooks, iMacs, iPads, iPhones, Nikon cameras, camera lenses, and a GoPro camera.3 comments on this story
The audit showed "how thousands of dollars of government property was purchased with government money, and in many cases such government property was used almost exclusively for personal use," Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said on the Senate floor Friday.
Yet after the case was handed over to prosecutors, they declined to file charges because state code wasn't clear with regard to misuse of government property.
"The code is very clear with respect to misuse of public money, but is not clear with respect to the misuse of public property," Weiler said.
After no debate, the Senate approved the bill on a 26-0 vote. Whether the bill becomes law hinges on Gov. Gary Herbert's signature.