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Audit: ATL bought $125K in gift cards, but who got ’em?
By JIM WALLS
Jan. 17, 2013 — Atlanta city officials bought at least $128,000 in gift cards since 2008 but can’t say exactly what they did with them, the city auditor has found.
No evidence of misconduct was found, but the possibility was there because of inadequate financial controls, City Auditor Leslie Ward said in a report released Wednesday:
Department records of card distribution and use, especially before fiscal year 2012, are inadequate to account for the disposition of individual gift cards. Therefore, while we found no evidence to substantiate allegations of individual misconduct, it is not possible for us to determine whether cards were misused, nor is it possible to determine how many employees received cards as compensation or the amounts received.
The Department of Watershed Management bought about 75 percent of the gift cards that auditors found, primarily for employee recognition rewards or for snacks or meals for employees. But, of more than $94,000 spent, Watershed Management could only identify recipients of cards worth $4,350. The department told auditors it distributed 1,363 cards at employee award programs but did not supply the number of cards, their value of the recipients.
Atlanta’s chief operating officer, Duriya Farooqui, halted the purchase and distribution of gift cards last fall after reporters asked the city for records of their use. Farooqui had already ordeed creation of a centrally-controlled gift card program, as Ward’s report recommends