BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Office of the Inspector General in Baltimore received a complaint that alleged a Department of Public Works employee neglected to deposit thousands of dollars in checks collected for the review of engineering plans and projects.
In May 2019, twelve checks totaling $48,478 were found in a box on the employee’s desk.READ MORE: FDA, CDC Recommend ‘Pause’ For Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Over Clot Reports
Several of the checks were more than five years old.
The OIG’s investigation revealed checks from multiple companies had expired and were no longer in business, including a company that had submitted a $38,000 payment- so the City could no longer collect the outstanding funds.
The employee works in the Office of Compliance and Laboratories within the DPW, which is responsible for ensuring developers are compliant with City environmental codes.
According to the report, the employee was being promoted and his office was being cleaned out when the checks were discovered. The Chief of OCAL said the employee was given verbal counseling because he was “negligent but not malicious,” according to the report.READ MORE: Biden, Lawmakers At Tribute For Slain Capitol Police Officer William 'Billy' Evans
The Chief also told the OIG that $48,000 “was not a make or break” amount of money compared to the average revenue OCAL generates monthly.
The OIG found in the investigation the OCAL did not have a policy to deal with the submission of checks received from project reviews and determined the employee mishandled the twelve checks.
They also determined the Chief’s decision to not inform DPW executives put the city at a “disadvantage” for funds to be recouped.
DPW Acting Director Matthew G. Garbark responded to the allegations in a letter saying DPW is pursuing disciplinary action against the employees to the extent of civil service rules and regulations permit.
They are also working to adjust their internal procedures and controls when dealing with collecting checks to make sure this doesn’t happen again.MORE NEWS: Baltimore City Health Officials Say They Will Switch To Moderna Doses While Johnson & Johnson On Pause
DPW said it will also be seeking to recover as much of the uncollected fees as possible.