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City Audit Finds Ex-Employees Can Make Buys On L.A.'s Dime

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Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 11:40 AM

click to enlarge City Controller Wendy Greuel.
  • City Controller Wendy Greuel.
City Controller Wendy Greuel's latest look at city finances finds that a number of fired employees still have access to a city purchasing system.

In a statement released today, Greuel said 126 terminated employees still had IDs and passwords for the city's "supply management" purchasing system (SMS) that would allow them to buy stuff on the city's dime. An additional 50 current employees had multiple IDs in the system that might make it difficult to track their purchases, Greuel stated.

The controller noted that the system is good for $500 million a year in annual city purchases. (As a reference point, L.A.'s budget crisis revolves around a $212 million deficit).

Greuel, in fact, found that employees had made buys using someone else's SMS ID in two city departments, and argued that this kind of activity compromises accountability. In a letter to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council Greuel bemoaned a lack of "a streamlined policy about appropriate SMS activities."

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