City’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline proven effective – generating investigation that uncovered problems
SANTA FE – An anonymous tip to the City’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse hotline, launched by Mayor Javier Gonzales and the City Council in March of 2015, led directly to an internal investigation that uncovered poor cash management policies and other problems at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center.
The investigation’s specific findings include a lack of segregation of duties, insufficient oversight and training, and policies and procedures that were not up to accepted standards for safeguarding and depositing cash after it was received.
The full report has been added to the City’s Transparency web portal at: http://www.santafenm.gov/transparency and is part of the agenda for tomorrow’s public Audit Committee Meeting.
That investigative report into cash management was released this week at the conclusion of the City Internal Auditor’s work. In recent weeks, the city has taken corrective action in response to this investigation, and the City Manager and Finance Department have ordered a city-wide review and reform to institute a strict cash management system for all city facilities that handle cash transactions.
Mayor Gonzales said, “When you find internal problems you have to act responsibly to crack down on fraud, waste and abuse – you can’t let it continue. As we reformed our budget, we have also been putting the structures in place to find and fix issues like this, and we won’t stop working to build in some accountability until we’ve covered every department. That’s exactly why we set up the hotline, and we’re happy to see it worked because it gave us the chance to take action to fix a broken system.”
City Manager Brian Snyder said, “We’ve made progress in rebuilding our fiscal strength and worked to restore public confidence in our abilities to handle taxpayer dollars. Anything that puts cash at risk and undermines that trust has to be taken seriously. That’s why we launched this investigation and why we are taking action in response to its findings. Moving forward it should be clear to anyone handling cash in our facilities how seriously we take that responsibility.”
The detailed report linked above will also be presented to the public and discussed at the next public meetings of the Audit Committee, on July 12th, the Finance Committee on August 21st, and the full Council thereafter.
The Finance Department has undertaken a complete review and reform of cash management policies, with specific sections for each site at which cash is handled, bringing old, out of date city policies into line with recommendations from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Government Finance Officers Association, the Government Accountability Office, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That policy will be implemented at every revenue intake site within the City.