Internal Report on Alleged Credit Card Fraud Released
The City of Gainesville Human Resources Department and the City Auditor’s Office have completed their investigations into former employee Natwaina Clark’s alleged fraudulent use of city-issued purchase cards.
Since the initial reporting of the incident, staff has completed their investigations into the alleged fraudulent use by Clark, identifying changes to tighten internal financial controls, and to reduce the possibility of fraudulent activity. Ultimately, implementation of the accepted set of recommendations provided in the report will strengthen citizen confidence in the integrity of city financial processes.
The report’s recommendations are best summarized by five substantive actions which, taken together, comprise a continuum of controls, many of which have already been, or are in the process of being, implemented. They are:
- Screening: The Human Resources Department will conduct enhanced background screenings for city employees to include criminal and credit checks for purchase card holders and authorized approvers of purchases.
- Access: The Budget and Finance Department will no longer issue purchase cards to temporary or probationary employees in the organization, as well as limit the number of cards issued to city employees. Since the alleged fraud incident, the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department has reduced the number of purchase cards in the department by 28 percent, and will continue to evaluate whether further reduction is appropriate.
- Training: Retraining of Human Resources staff on background screenings has already been completed, and refresher training will be scheduled annually. Mandatory training for all existing and future card holders and approvers to review all purchase card policies and procedures is currently underway and should be complete by the end of July. Going forward, refresher training for cardholders and approvers will be scheduled bi-annually.
- Purchases: Purchases of gift cards, prepaid credit cards, money orders and PayPal transactions (or similar items) is no longer permitted or approved by direction of the City Manager.
- Accountability: Management with supervisory responsibility in this alleged occurrence of fraudulent activity are being held accountable for their actions. The addition of an Internal Controls Manager position reporting directly to the City Manager and working in close coordination with the City Auditor and the Budget and Finance Department will provide added departmental oversight to monitor adherence to fiscal controls and procedures.
“The City of Gainesville is focused on aggressive measures to increase public confidence that their municipal government has and will continue to tighten fiscal controls,” said City Manager Anthony Lyons. “Those measures include ensuring that accurate reporting and sound financial and oversight practices are in place.”
The full internal reports may be viewed on the city’s website at http://bit.ly/2sw8Tbq. Please direct media inquiries to Public Information Officer Bob Woods at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-393-8627.