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Audits find commissions overspent on food, alcohol, and employee perks

Pennsylvania’s drinking water may be transparent, but Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says the commissions that oversee it have not been.

“I don’t want to hear any crap about nuance, about it was from this fund and not that fund and any of that other crap and that nonsense. This was public money that was used. Public money,” said DePasquale.

An audit of the Susquehanna and Delaware River Basin Commissions revealed misuse of funds that are provided by taxpayer dollars.

In particular, the audit revealed the Susquehanna River Basin Commission spent more than $1,000 on alcohol at meetings.

They also used more than $16,000 on extravagant meals for those meetings, and $14,000 towards employee perks, such as gift cards and staff parties.

“I believe good employees can be rewarded. You know how you do that? They get a promotion. Or it there’s a vacancy above them and they do a good job, you promote them. Or if somebody deserves an increase in salary because they’ve added more duties or something along those lines, there’s an appropriate process to do that. Doing it this way, they were hoping nobody would catch them,” said DePasquale.

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission responded to these findings in a statement to Fox 43, saying, "As a governmental entity, we have always been committed to transparency, and the audit identified several ways that we can be even more so… there is almost always room for improvement, and we have already taken several steps to make sure we properly assess expenditures and exercise good judgment as we strive to fulfill our mission effectively and efficiently."

The audit also revealed the Delaware River Basin Commission had just under $500 of undocumented purchases.

The audit also suggested both commissions update their agreements with the Department of Environmental Protection, both of which are several decades old.