Turn auditors loose on $24 million worth of city employee credit card spending over a two-year period, and chances are they’ll find some transactions where money was wrongly spent and some spending policies that need to be updated.
Probably the best scenario is that you don’t find any major misspending, no significant money or goods missing, no laws broken.
That’s pretty much the way it went in Fort Worth, where auditors recently submitted a 26-page report to the city.
The biggest problems: a $1,899 Apple computer is missing (an employee has been disciplined), employees need to be better trained about using city cards, and internal controls need to be strengthened.
Some eyebrow raisers: $296,291 spent at restaurants and for caterers, including $3,687 for a retirement party; $12,830 spent to buy gift cards; and $3,450 spent on car washes that should have been done at a city facility.
City administrators say most of the expenses were reimbursed.
Audits don’t have to find major malfeasance in order to prove themselves worthwhile. When they find faulty internal controls, that means problems can be fixed before major abuse occurs.