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Riviera Beach responds to audit of questionable spending

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Posted at 3:35 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 19:14:07-05

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Riviera Beach city officials said Tuesday the city is taking the findings in the Office of Inspector General’s report, which questioned more than $500,000 in spending, very seriously and vowed to make changes.

READ THE REPORT HERE

"Along with the deficiencies noted, the OIG has provided an extensive list of best practice suggestions for our review," Public Information Officer Rose Anne Brown said in the statement.

The OIG report looked at purchasing cards and travel expenses by city officials and found more than $500,000 in questioned costs.

Some of the items purchased by city officials could not be found anymore, such as TV sets and a pair of boots.

Brown said the city is looking for ways to fix the issues highlighted by the report.

"We are contacting some like-size cities in Palm Beach County to search for some of the best practices available for elected officials and travel policies," Brown said in a statement. "This will provide a good base for our staff to draw from as we create a better model for Riviera Beach."

The report also found the city failed to properly cancel purchasing cards after employees left the city.

WPTV reported that the city kept paying health insurance for 77 employees for years after they no longer worked for the city, resulting in around $1 million in overpayment.

Here is the full response by the city:

"City of Riviera Administrators take the items noted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) very seriously and see many opportunities for improvement. OIG staff has been kind enough to meet with us on several occasions since we received the draft and reviewed details in the report. Along with the deficiencies noted, the OIG has provided an extensive list of best practice suggestions for our review. We are contacting some like-size cities in Palm Beach County to search for some of the best practices available for elected officials and travel policies. This will provide a good base for our staff to draw from as we create a better model for Riviera Beach. We have already undertaken a number of the OIG recommendations. For example, it was stated that our IT inventory system was nonexistent. Subsequently, we have purchased a state of the art tracking system. Staff will be instructed annually on proper use of purchasing cards and our internal auditor will perform spot checks. If any reporting deficiencies are noted, corrections will be made and the cardholder will be given remedial training right away. There will be many steps taken to improve protocols and documentation. As we get further along in this process, staff will be happy to provide updates."