Proof of purchase
Audit shows city employees turn in credit card receipts late
By André Coleman 03/28/2013
An audit of city credit card purchases made by high-ranking city officials — prompted by a series of Pasadena Weekly articles that revealed excessive charges for meals at high-end local restaurants and other food-related items — did not question the types of purchases made but found that many employees turn in receipts late.
In a letter from city Finance Director Andrew Green to the city’s audit committee, Green wrote, “The results of the auditor review shows that there is one primary issue: Timely review and reconciliation of charges to the statements.”
All told, auditors found that out of 350 random transactions selected in three phases, city employees failed to reconcile the account on time for 78 of 350 purchases, or 22.3 percent of the time.
In Phase I of the audit, a random sample of 67 of the city’s 101,046 credit transactions between 2008 and 2012 revealed that 22 percent of the time employees failed to go into the city’s database within one month of the purchase and enter information regarding sales.
The second and third phases of the audit revealed similar results. In Phase II, cardholders did not reconcile the purchases on time 47 times out of 233 purchases. In Phase III, 60 transactions were randomly selected and 16 purchases — about 27 percent of the transactions — were not reported on time. Receipts for all credit card purchases are due within two weeks of card use.
“The issue that I found with the timeliness is if the billing comes by mail and we have holidays, it does not give you a lot of time. We are going to be looking at extending that so we will have no issues with reconciliation,” Green said.
Auditors recommended that all city employees with a city-issued credit card be required once a year to certify they have read the city’s credit card policy.
The audit found that what appeared to be excessive restaurant and food purchases made by employees were made in compliance with the city’s policy.
The Weekly reported in June that city officials spent more than $2.3 million on credit card purchases in the first part of 2012, with at least $46,876 spent on meals and other food-related costs.