Hartford City Car Audit Indicates Lack of Oversight

By Ari Mason
|  Friday, Oct 18, 2013  |  Updated 7:56 AM EDT
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An audit was released addressing the issue the city of Hartford has with its employees take home vehicles.

An audit was released addressing the issue the city of Hartford has with its employees take home vehicles.

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An audit surveying 51 Hartford city cars issued to members of the police, fire, public works and finance departments reveals numerous policy loopholes and a lack of oversight.

"...We found that the current process of accounting for and controlling City vehicles is ineffective, inefficient and prone to errors and omissions," the audit reads.

According to the audit, there is no policy in place to monitor the use of take-home cars, raising concerns over misuse and the potential for wasted taxpayer money.

The audit also shows that city workers are not being held accountable for their mileage or gas use. One car displayed an annual mileage listing of nearly 500,000, indicating its mileage had not been accurately reported.

Three other cars burned through 1,900 gallons of gas last year – one used 46 gallons in a week, the report shows. The tanks are filled on the taxpayer's dime.

A usage policy was implemented a couple years ago but was scrapped shortly thereafter, the audit shows.

"As noted in the details of this report, although City Administration had developed and documented a 'City of Hartford Vehicle Use Policy' which included provisions for City vehicles with commuter privileges, it was not formally authorized, issued and implemented," the audit reads.

The policy reportedly took effect in Aug. 2011 but was retracted after "a number of unions objected."

Because of this, there's not even a system in place to verify that employees have valid driver's licenses.

Hartford city officials have thanked the auditors and alluded to changes to come.

"This paints a very disturbing picture of mismanagement and lack of oversight," said Hartford City Council president Shawn T. Wooden. "This is a wide-scale failure."

A statement issued by Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra's office reads, "The Mayor appreciates the work the Audit Commission has done and will continue making progress in reducing the number of city vehicles without compromising public safety."

The audit was ordered last summer after former Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec was found to have driven his city car more than 1,000 miles after resigning from his post. Kupiec was arrested after his city car was discovered with its windows smashed on Capitol Avenue this summer.

Kupiec is not the only one to come under scrutiny for misuse of city cars. Last month, Rhonda Moniz-Carroll was fired from her position as Deputy Director Public Works following an alleged drunk-driving crash that totaled her city car.

And just a couple weeks ago, former Chief Operating Officer Saundra Kee Borges was also involved in a crash with her city car. Authorities said her fiance was driving.

Hartford recently cut down on the number of city cars issued to government workers, but this audit could lead the city to further revise that list.

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