TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Written records invite skimming, says accountant reviewing Pittsburgh finances

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Thursday, June 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Pittsburgh still uses pencil and paper to record some cash transactions, according to a financial accountant who is examining the city's books.

William G. Krieger, managing director for Downtown-based Gleason & Associates, on Wednesday said staff uncovered potential for skimming money and, in one case, an off-the-books bank account used to pay baseball umpires.

“This was very small dollars and very low risk in terms of the city,” Krieger said of the unauthorized checking account used for a Citiparks program. “While there are opportunities for cash-skimming, we have not observed any situations where there was fraud or cash-skimming.”

Gleason was retained by Pittsburgh's Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, one of the city's two state-appointed financial oversight boards, to review cash-management policies along with the Controller's Office. The ICA called for the review after the FBI charged former police Chief Nate Harper in February with skimming city money through an unauthorized account.

The ICA, which has the authority to approve city budgets, met to resolvedifferences with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's administration over issues including implementation of a financial management system that was supposed to be in place last year. The ICA threatened sanctions, including revoking approval of the city budget and withholding state aid.

Chuck Half, innovation and performance manager for the city, said it is seeking bids for software and should have the system completely online by 2014.

ICA Chairman Dana Yealy said he was satisfied with the response.

“The change in the attitude and behavior, it was embracing the need to work cooperatively,” he said after the meeting. “What you heard today were people continuing to make a commitment to work together.”

Krieger described a hodgepodge accounting system more suitable for the Dark Ages.

He noted that in some cases, the same person receiving cash also records the transaction and deposits the money. He said the review also uncovered instances where deposits are being made only once per year and cash registers are not used regularly.

“With certain departments, this is not inconsistent of what we would see in any organization,” he said.

Controller Michael Lamb said his office has advocated for a standard cash management policy and found similar problems during audits. He said much of what the review uncovered centered on volunteers handling small amounts of money at senior centers and recreation centers.

“We still want to be sure that it's properly accounted for,” he said.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto: Public has stake in Penguins
  2. Belle Vernon woman visits ship like lander she helped build as WWII welder
  3. Gas cost, construction barrels coming down for Labor Day travelers
  4. Embezzled $14.8M could cause woes for North Side firm Matthews International
  5. Pittsburgh Zoo staff caring for African lion suffering from seizure condition
  6. 11 inmate deaths mar contract talks, says Allegheny County Jail’s former medical care provider, Corizon Health
  7. Newsmaker: Dr. Bill DiCuccio
  8. Asking price for Penguins franchise said to be at a record $750M
  9. Penn Hills man sentenced to 12 ½ to 29 years of prison for voluntary manslaughter
  10. Brady elated over lifted suspension; Steelers fans deflated
  11. Sto-Rox High School announces early dismissal because of heat