Suggestions to monitor fraud in city government
Mar 22, 2014 | 309 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I have written you before about my concerns about ineffectiveness of our Goliad city government and those concerns still exist.

I have called attention to the auditors’ reports and the disregard with which the council treats them. I would, especially, like to call attention to the item of fraud prevention.

For the four years of reports previous to fiscal year 2013, the auditor has recommend a hotline and/or a post office mail box. I quote from the auditor’s letter to the council on May 24, 2013: “We recommend that management consider establishing a fraud hotline with a third-party service provider.

Alternatively, the city could obtain a post office box to be used by city employees to report fraud anonymously. The post office box should be checked periodically by an individual not employed by the city (e.g., an appointed city council member). The very existence of a formal anonymous avenue for reporting fraud would serve as a deterrent to misconduct by creating, among employees, a perception that fraud would be detected and reported.

It would also demonstrate the city’s serious intent to prevent and detect fraud. In addition, the hotline or post office box could also be used to report incidents of harassment, unsafe working conditions or violations of laws or regulations. This would allow the city to address such situations in a timely manner and could help prevent or minimize lawsuits, legal liability or adverse publicity by demonstrating that the city has procedures for receiving and addressing complaints.

Employees should be made aware of the city fraud-reporting program’s availability and the reasons why they should use it!

This year, the auditor failed to mention this fraud control recommendation. At a city council meeting, I was able to ask the auditor if the city complied. After a sputter or two, the auditor said that the city administrator said it was not cost effective!

The cost of a P.O. Box is about $30 and a council member monitor is free.

In an earlier edition of your newspaper, you reported a case of possible fraud in the utilities billing and collection. A $30 investment together with adopting other often-mentioned recommendations for the utilities collections might have saved legal costs incurred by this possible case of fraud.

It also might have prevented a young lady from having a criminal record.

Who cares? I do and I hope many other Goliad residents do, too.

Everett Jacob,

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