2018-03-22 / Front Page

Some view special meeting concerning DPW as positive

By Tanya Terry
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

BURTON —Because of concerns, a special meeting was held this month regarding the Burton Department of Public Works (DPW). The draft of a specialized internal control review performed by Plante Moran was discussed at the meeting.

Eric Conforti, senior manager for Plante Moran, said the internal control review was not an investigation, described Plante Moran’s process in doing the internal control review and gave Plante Moran’s recommendations, saying the original focus of the report was credit cards, expense reports and motor pool and the fiscal years 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Conforti said historically, at the DPW, assets were not secured from employees. He said there was a missing iPad that had been stored in an unlocked cabinet in the main office of the DPW.

Conforti said it was not unusual for department heads to have some level of decision-making authority.

“But, what we noted is there is no subsequent review from someone who would have an understanding of whether a purchase was appropriate, and there’s also no documentation to say ‘here’s why I chose this vendor,’” Conforti said.

Conforti said there was nothing to prevent someone from choosing a vendor that was charging more money than others in exchange for money back or a favor, though he said that was not necessarily happening. He said Plante Moran recommended at least a periodic review and documentation of why vendors were selected.

It was discussed there should be working cameras when cash receipting was done at the DPW counter and at DPW gas pumps to monitor fuel activity.

Conforti said historically salt was monitored by one individual with tick marks on a piece of paper, and the individual left the city. So, some salt was not billed until it was identified it was not being billed. Conforti said the recommendation was to move away from manual processes like these, especially processes involving one employee.

Deputy DPW Director Charles Abbey said some of the suggestions were great and had been implemented before the review, were being implemented at the time of the review or would be implemented. He said several people review purchases when they are made. He said he also wanted to talk about the salt, and there is no outstanding bill on the salt.

“You’re pretty accurate when you say they used a sheet on the door, but it wasn’t one individual that had access to that,” Abbey said.

There is now a registered log book concerning DPW salt. Abbey said in the DPW there are logs for tool check out and there was an alarm system on every door. He also said pictures are taken of items when disposed of at the DPW.

Abbey said if the council voted to give the DPW the money, they would be glad to put cameras on the gas pumps. Rik Hayman, chief of staff for Mayor Paula Zelenko, said this idea has been presented to council before, but the council decided the city did not have money. Abbey said a maintenance man with gas pumping experience used to monitor the gas pumps and order fuel. These assignments have now been given to another supervisor.

During audience participation, former Councilman Steve Hatfield spoke. He said there were red flags in the study, and as a former investigation, said he believed a full investigation should be done.

Council Vice President Duane Haskins asked about credit card transactions and was told by Conforti that was not a major concern because there were receipts for the transactions in question, which Conforti said were for valid purchases. Conforti said the receipts were merely not in the proper place. Haskins said he did not see the report as terrible, and said it eased his mind on some issues.

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