A fridge, subscriptions for a health app and $1,500 value of coffee-making gear. 

These are among the many 87 purchases made by Anchorage metropolis staff final yr that inner auditors deemed ‘questionable’ and warranted additional evaluate. The purchases have been summarized in a recently completed audit by the city’s Internal Audit Department. 

Anchorage City Hall.
Anchorage Metropolis Corridor. (Workers photograph)

In whole, the audit — which is finished every year — discovered about $31,000 value of questionable or prohibited purchases, in keeping with an itemized spreadsheet supplied by the division. That’s .15% of the purchases made by metropolis staff with procurement playing cards, that are basically debit playing cards linked to a metropolis checking account.

“It’s essential to remember that the questionable purchases that we did establish make up a really small portion of the overall greenback worth of the purchases of the municipality,” stated Inside Audit Director Mike Chadwick.

The town labels purchases as “questionable” once they’re not explicitly allowed — or prohibited — in pointers for what will be purchased with procurement playing cards. 

Additionally on the newest record of questionable purchases was a $700 wifi-enabled moveable heater, cable TV subscriptions at a number of hearth stations, microwaves and toaster ovens, and $1,600 value of televisions for the police division. 

The evaluate additionally discovered some purchases that have been prohibited by town’s procurement guidelines, Chadwick stated, like meals and water for workers, and a substitute motor for a division’s fiber-optic Christmas tree.

Chadwick stated the annual audit helps departments provide you with clearer pointers for which purchases are an applicable use of taxpayer cash. Auditors additionally observe up with particular person staff and departments. 

“For prohibited purchases, the buying division tries to hunt reimbursement for a few of these purchases. For questionable purchases, they attempt to get a greater rationalization of what the acquisition was, and get a greater understanding of it. After which maybe redirect the worker to a purchase order that might have been extra applicable,” stated Chadwick.

That may embrace directing the workers to buy a less expensive model of a product, or directing them to make use of town’s present contracts to get cheaper charges. Generally, he stated, if objects are wanted in a break room, staff will pool their private cash collectively or deliver the merchandise from house. 

Departments are additionally given the prospect to seek out extra details about purchases deemed questionable, he stated. As an example, the Anchorage Police Division’s buy of greater than $1,500 in coffee-making provides was flagged this yr, together with a word that the division had spent $4,000 on coffee-making gear in 2019. 

In an emailed assertion, APD Spokesperson MJ Thim wrote that getting fees marked as questionable is “routine when extra data is required.” He stated a evaluate of the espresso provide purchases discovered they have been warranted. 

“The espresso machine buy is a part of the continuing renovation undertaking purchases for auditorium at headquarters which is able to host giant in-person conferences and trainings. These particular fees have been discovered not prohibitive after further data was supplied,” he wrote. 

Chadwick stated the auditors reviewed nearly 48,000 purchases individually. They double-check their work by looking for key phrases which have come up previously, like “flowers” and “donuts.” The evaluate ensures that staff and departments know their bills are being tracked, he stated.  

“It is a story of presidency working properly to examine itself, since you’re by no means going to have an ideal setting. However we’re fairly darn shut,” he stated. 

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