An audit of the city's finance department has uncovered problems beyond those reported last month, this time with overpayments to some city employees and a failure to file state and federal tax forms.
With the new findings, members of the Hartford Internal Audit Commission have raised concerns about the department's overall operations.
"It appears there is a pattern of dysfunction in the finance department that needs vast improvement," Commissioner Bruce Rubenstein said. "There is a lack of oversight and a lack of departmental procedures in many vital areas. Major change must happen for it to be a viable department."
In July, the audit commission released its review of the finance department's revenue management unit. The report highlighted numerous issues, from discrepancies in the amount of revenue budgeted and received to record-keeping for various operations.
Auditors have now turned their attention to the department's payroll unit. In a review completed in June -- the end of the fiscal year -- the commission found that employees in the payroll unit had yet to correct problems pointed out in a 2012 audit, including recovering money from overpayments to certain employees. One employee, who is not named in the auditor's report, was overpaid about $10,600. The money has still not been returned, auditors said.
Employees have also failed to properly document payroll errors and corrections, according to the audit report.
During the review, auditors noted, the payroll manager discovered that two prior supervisors had not filed some required federal and state tax forms, such as quarterly withholding statements and employer information. Of the 14 forms not filed, the current payroll manager "took immediate action" and has submitted all but two, the report says.
The remaining forms will be completed by Aug. 31, and the supervisor is "working with federal and state officials to limit, to the greatest extent possible, any fines or penalties resulting from filing the tax forms ... late," the report says.
In addition, 43 police officers and one other employee were overpaid $21,376 because of a "reported system malfunction," auditors said. The overpayments weren't addressed until a police officer notified a payroll specialist that he had been overpaid.
"It should also be noted that three of these overpayments totaling $1,321 were not identified and followed up on until we brought them to the attention of the current supervising payroll manager," auditors wrote in the report.
Auditors also pointed out that about 100 retirees who died in 2012 still received 1099R and W-2 forms.
Finance employees told the audit commission that they have corrected some of the issues and are committed to solving others, the report states.
The review was part of an overall audit plan for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The commission last spring also reviewed purchases made by employees with city-issued credit cards. Auditors recommended better oversight and enforcement of spending policies, and urged a ban on use of the cards for business-related entertainment.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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