Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Park Funds Gone

This is bad news as the funds for parks are too skimpy as it is without losses due to ineffective management oversight, almost inexcusable with the very basic controls all public agencies should be using for cash handling.

City's parks agency didn't safeguard cash, audit finds
By Terri Hardy - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, April 4, 2007

An audit launched after $15,000 went missing from Sacramento's parks and recreation department uncovered serious problems in the way cash is handled within that agency.

Auditor Martin Kolkin said it was difficult to trace whether money paid for recreation classes was actually deposited into the bank.

"Necessary controls weren't in place," Kolkin said.

Kolkin reported his findings to the Sacramento City Council on Tuesday. His audit also included a review of the city revenue division's cash-handling practices. He said he found a solid process there that could benefit from modernization.

Following the audit, the city took immediate action to improve oversight at the parks and recreation department and hired a consulting firm for $50,000 to make recommendations on financial oversight and internal cash controls. The city also drafted procedures being put in place in all departments, said Assistant City Manager Gus Vina.

Kolkin was asked to audit the parks and recreation department after city officials uncovered two instances of suspected theft -- one in 2005 and the other in 2006, said city spokesman Hindolo Brima. Kolkin sampled how money was handled at Natomas Service Center, Clunie Community Center, the Pannell Meadowview Community Center and the Coloma Community Center.

Brima would not provide details of those cases or provide the names of the employees involved. One worker was fired and the other resigned, Brima said.