Q&A of the day – Abuse of taxpayer money at Port Everglades

Q&A of the day – Abuse of taxpayer money at Port Everglades 

It’s the Q&A of the day. Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.  

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com  

Twitter: @brianmuddradio  

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1  

Today’s note comes from Nicolas based on the story BSO, County Auditor probe out-of-control P-Card spending by Port Everglades employees by FloridaBulldog.org: 

I think it’s crazy that we have the p card program in Broward. The only reason I can see for it is that it was created to allow for the type of criminal activity that is reported in the article. I don’t know all the details but It’s almost a given that this would happen if you hand out credit cards like what is described in the story.  

Bottom Line: Here’s an excerpt from the story: How much county money vanished over the years without anyone at the port or the county purchasing department noticing is not known. But a county source familiar with the investigation that is focused on allegedly fictitious purchases said authorities now have identified a decade’s worth of suspicious purchases by just one port worker totaling $1.1 million. 

Plumber David Dean Moore was fired Aug. 16 after investigators determined he had abused his assigned purchasing card, or P-Card, to buy faucets, backflow preventer repair kits and more than 100 feet of brass pipe that were never received by the port, according to a Broward County report. 

A detective asked “if it was common practice to have supervisors sign off on purchase orders without seeing the items on the order.” He was told “supervisors rely on the honesty of the employees requesting such orders,” the report says. 

Union president Hibbert predicted the investigation will last two years.

The report detailed other specific examples and paints a bigger picture of the view of the possible with taxpayer money in the cross-hairs. That now evident abuse could be taking place for a decade without detection shines a light on the extent of the failures of checks and balances with taxpayer money. It also shows the disconnect between government, reality, and the general lack of accountability by news media to hold government accountable. Take the recent shutdown as an example...In government, you can be furloughed, never work and get back pay for the time you didn’t work and have the entire news media fawn over your plight for 35 days. In the real world if you lose your job no one in media pays attention to you and you don’t know where your next paycheck will come from. There are 7.6 million Americans in that situation right now, but government has generally been placed as more important than the private sector by news media and as a result evident fraud like these P cards scams persist.  

Some minor research on my part found this example of decision making within Broward that might be a tell in the bigger problem here. It’s the job posting for the Broward position that overseas P cards. There’s a specific job in Broward government called: Accounting Specialist P Card. Here’s part of the job description:  The duties and responsibilities of this position will include but are not limited to the following: Reconciling monthly P-Card statements Reviewing charges to ensure compliance with P-card policy Detecting split transactions/double payments Monitoring P-card spending limits Monitoring vendor activity Providing vendor table support  

Now here’s the thing. It’s an entry level position according to Broward. Yes, entry level. Do you think an accountant tasked with monitoring the use of your tax dollars by county officials should be entry level? Sounds a lot like another dose of “relying on the honesty of the employees”.  

Maybe if South Florida media were half as interested in the accountability of local government as they were in finding sympathetic figures during the partial government shutdown this wouldn’t be happening. One thing’s evident. Broward’s government has operated recklessly in various departments for years. We’re finally just starting to see the full extent of it all. The question is if it’s just Broward. I’ll never forget coming to the Palm Beaches with virtually the entire County Commission under indictment about 13 years ago. What are the odds that abuses of taxpayer money are exclusive to Broward or are we just not yet aware of other problems due in part to a complicit news media that’s more interested in attempting to hold someone like me accountable than local governments? 

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