School Closings & Delays

Auditor General: lack of oversight, poor management caused loss of revenue at DGS Capitol Police ticket office

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
ticket

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said today his team found an extreme lack of oversight and poor management at the Department of General Services’ Capitol Police parking ticket office that left them unable to determine the total amount of missing or unaccounted for ticket payments.

“From our recently completed audit, we know the state lost at least $7,420 of revenue from a complete break-down of internal controls at the DGS parking ticket office,” DePasquale said. “Missing records, files in disarray, uncashed checks, and unaccounted for tickets, made it impossible to determine how much additional money might be unaccounted for or missing.

“To make matters worse, because of the serious disarray of the parking ticket office, DGS Capitol Police were forced to stop writing parking tickets for six months between May 2016 and November 2016,” he said. “How much revenue was lost during that period? Who knows?”

The audit, covering January 2010 to April 2016, has four findings and four recommendations.

Auditors attempted to begin the scheduled audit of the parking ticket office in October 2015, but were stymied by the former ticket clerk in their efforts to gain access to records until May 2016, shortly after the she abruptly retired in April 2016.

DePasquale said auditors found DGS did not reconcile the parking ticket books assigned to Capitol Police officers with tickets returned to the ticket office, ticket fines were not always recorded in the computer system, and payments were not always deposited.

“The recordkeeping was so bad that my team could not account for, or attest to, the number of tickets issued during the examination period,” DePasquale said.

Based on the approximate number of tickets issued during the review period, auditors determined there was a balance due to DGS of $23,185, or 4,637 tickets multiplied by the $5 fine.

DGS only deposited $14,336 in parking fines. An additional $1,429 in checks dated from 2011 through 2014 found in the ticket office were stale-dated and could not be deposited, resulting in a $7,420 discrepancy between the amount due to DGS and the fines collected.

The audit revealed the former ticket clerk was solely responsible for nearly every function of the office: issuing blank tickets to officers, reconciling issued tickets, preparing citations, collecting cash, issuing and retaining receipts, preparing and making deposits, reconciling validated deposit slips to the accounting records and summarizing the accounting records.

“The former parking ticket clerk also was the only person who had the office safe combination, and DGS had to break into the safe after her retirement,” DePasquale said. “Clearly, no one was watching the proverbial store.”

Auditors also noted:
• Cash receipts were not recorded and deposited on the same day as received, a repeat finding from a prior audit issued in December 2011.
• DGS staff found boxes of tickets, some with cash and checks attached, that were dated between 2011 and 2014, with the checks unable to be deposited because they were outstanding for six months or more.
• Missing daily and monthly financial reports, computer-generated receipts, manual ticket receipts and logs, and deposit slips.

“I am encouraged that DGS leadership appears to be taking these findings seriously,” DePasquale said. “Hopefully better management and oversight of this parking ticket office will prevent the problems with the office from reoccurring.”

DePasquale said the audit report was forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Police and his department is cooperating with a state police investigation.
The DGS Capitol Police audit report is available online at: http://www.PaAuditor.gov.

SOURCE: PA Auditor General press release