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Butkovitz Criticizes Human Relations Agency for Missing Equipment

For Immediate Release:      
June 21, 2010

Contact: Harvey Rice
215-686-6696

Butkovitz Criticizes Human Relations Agency
for Missing Equipment 
Controller’s audit of the Commission on Human Relations found
60 percent of $513,000 worth of equipment could not be found

Click here to view audit

PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released the Commission on Human Relations (CHR) audit that found 60 percent of the Agency’s $513,000 equipment inventory could not be located.

The missing equipment from CHR’s June 2007 asset records consisted of computers, printers, and monitors that were valued between $500 and $23,000.

“CHR could not tell us where the missing items were located or which items had been scrapped,” said Butkovitz.  “Not enough emphasis was placed on record keeping, which resulted in more than 60 percent of the equipment being unaccounted for.”

The Agency’s asset records listed items that were scrapped through the City’s Procurement Department but still considered an asset for the City, including a 1990 computer server valued at $22,000.

“Assets that cannot be accounted for but are included on the City’s financial statements can misrepresent the value of city assets in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,” said Butkovitz.  “This is the report that the Mayor and City Council rely on when calculating the City’s budget.”

Along with the agency's failure to locate some equipment, its inventory records did not include locations for any equipment. When auditors requested to see a random selection of three computers, CHR could not find them.

“It took a month for the CHR to locate two of the computers and another several months to locate the third,” said Butkovitz.  “Failure to maintain records of assets results in these items being more susceptible to theft.”

“The CHR needs to improve its accountability over office equipment purchased with taxpayer money,” said Butkovitz.

Some of the other findings from the audit include:
-employee leave time was not always approved in advance, placing the CHR at risk for being short-staffed during critical operational periods and for errors during the preparation of the bi-weekly payroll.
-payroll errors occurred in FY2007 and 2008 and there was no independent check of data entry.

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