Audit finds $240K of misspent city funds

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SAN DIEGO — A former San Diego city employee spent $243,000 of public money for equipment that apparently was never delivered, according to an audit made public Tuesday and forwarded to the San Diego Police Department.

Auditors found that the unnamed worker at the Public Utility Department’s Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Warehouse used city funds between March 2008 and November 2012 to buy more than $182,000 in vehicle batteries. The batteries were never requested or received by staff at the four treatment and reclamation plants or eight pump stations supported by the facility, the report says.

San Diego city moneyThe department doesn’t even use the kind of battery ordered, according to officials. The mayor’s office said the employee resigned last August.

Auditors also discovered that more than $17,000 in unwanted hydraulic hoses, valves and other automotive parts were bought with city funds, and invoices were found for another $44,000 or so worth of items that were requested but apparently never delivered, according to the report.

The city investigation began with a tip to a fraud hotline.

The audit also found weaknesses in an inventory management system, a lack of separation in duties between ordering, receiving and paying for supplies, and routine approvals to exceed spending limits.

The Public Utilities Department said it convened a fact-finding panel more than one year ago to gather documentation for possible employee disciplinary measures. The department also agreed to overhaul inventory management procedures.

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