Audit says Pittsburgh animal control bureau needs better cash control

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Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb released an audit of the city's animal control bureau today, calling its record-keeping "inadequate" and criticizing it for having weak cash controls.

The audit examined $5,876 that was collected in the field by bureau workers last year. The money included fees for temporary dog licenses, deposits for animal trap rentals and special incidence fees -- collected when workers transport an animal to a shelter for a city resident.

Mr. Lamb said he found no evidence of misappropriation in the bureau. But he said its procedures for handling cash could make it vulnerable to fraud.

Among other things, he said, the bureau did not promptly endorse and deposit checks and did not have sequential receipts. The audit recommended better record-keeping and that the bureau be set up to begin accepting credit cards.

"While we're talking about small amounts of money, we're still dealing with public money," he said.

Mr. Lamb's office is working alongside a forensic auditor, Gleason and Associates, that was hired by a state oversight board to look at how the city handles cash. The controller said that the situation in the animal control bureau mirrors poor cash management in other city departments, such as at senior centers and at city tennis courts.

"Any of these places where we see small amounts of cash ... we see similar problems," he said.

Gerald Akrie, supervisor of animal control, could not be reached for immediate comment, but his response was included in the audit.

"The recommendations made are received and will be used to motivate an update for record-keeping," he wrote.

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Moriah Balingit:, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MOriahBee. First Published October 7, 2013 8:18 PM


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