Pittsburgh City Council President Darlene Harris sponsored legislation today that would require the city to develop a cash management policy after a review by a forensic accounting firm found weaknesses in accounting practices.
Following the indictment of former police chief Nate Harper in March, the Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority hired forensic accounting firm Gleason and Associates to review the city's cash management policies. Board chairman Dana Yealy said the indictment, which charged Mr. Harper with directing employees to divert funds from the bureau, raised concerns about the accounting of funds flowing into the city.
Two weeks prior, Ms. Harris had sponsored legislation directing city Controller Michael Lamb to look at the same issues. Her bill, which passed and was signed into law, also allocated funds to hire a consultant to develop a policy, but this became unnecessary when the ICA hired a consultant of its own, she said.
Today's bill is based on the recommendations from the Gleason review, which found weak or nonexistent cash management policies that could create opportunities for fraud and cash-skimming. The bill mandates the city finance director to create a city-wide cash management policy. It also requires individual departments to craft policies and procedures of their own to comply with the city-wide policy.
Under the bill, the policies should ensure the timely deposit of funds, the segregation of cash management duties and would require departments to accept credit card payments when possible. Accepting credit cards "will bring us into the 21st century as most governments already accept electronic payment systems," she said.
Moriah Balingit: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee.