HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It is a blunt assessment and a scathing audit.
“The definition of a debacle is their record keeping,” Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said of the Pennsylvania Capitol Police.
On Thursday, DePasquale publicly released an audit that confirmed an ABC27 Investigators report of last week: that Capitol Police misplaced thousands of dollars and hundreds of parking tickets over a several-year period.
“It was so bad they were not even able to write parking tickets for six months because they weren’t even able to track their own parking tickets,” DePasquale said of the Capitol Police, which has jurisdiction over the Capitol Complex.
A single civilian ticket clerk had complete control of the parking tickets, the collected fines, and the bookkeeping. She abruptly retired as auditors came in to look at the books. After she left, no one could open the safe. She was the only one with the combination.
“To have a whole entire police department not be able to get into its own safe, that’s groundbreaking stuff and not in a good way,” DePasquale said.
The audit also blasted management at Capitol Police and oversight by the Department of General Services, which was sorely lacking according to the auditor general.
“I am 100-percent sure that we have the situation under control,” said Troy Thompson, a spokesman for General Services.
Thompson insists the problems have been fixed, that money is no longer collected in the Capitol Police office and is deposited weekly. Procedurally, according to Thompson, parking tickets are logged in and out by officers and accounted for with receipts. More than one person now has oversight.
“There will be a bi-weekly review of all ticket office data by the Capitol Police and, in addition, there will be a monthly audit by the Department of General Services fiscal office,” Thompson said.
Pennsylvania State Police continue to investigate the civilian ticket manager who resigned. But with such bad accounting, it’s difficult to know if money was stolen or misplaced.
“The reason why you have good processes in place is to make sure nobody is stealing,” DePasquale said, “but just because you have a bad system doesn’t mean people are stealing, it simply could’ve been incompetence.”
Both Thompson and DePasquale reiterated the audit was critical of Capitol Police management and oversight and not the men and women who wear the uniform.
When asked if anyone was fired or disciplined as a result of the shortcomings, Thompson refused to comment citing personnel issues.