Tube City Almanac

June 03, 2009

Police Audit Complete; Findings Sealed

Category: News || By

An audit of city police overtime has been completed and turned over to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr., Mayor James Brewster said tonight.

But the audit is not being made public because the DA's investigation remains open, according to the city solicitor.

Brewster told council at its monthly meeting that the audit was delivered to the city by an outside auditor, but was sealed and forwarded to Zappala without any copies being retained locally.

. . .

The independent audit, which included a review of all police overtime between Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008, was recommended by Zappala after KDKA-TV reported that seven officers had been suspended without pay for submitting inaccurate time cards.

The Post-Gazette later reported that all of the officers were members of the narcotics unit and have been reassigned.

The cards indicated the officers had attended court hearings where they were not present.

. . .

Police Chief Joe Pero discovered the discrepancies while performing a random audit of the so-called "court cards."

Officials have said that the disputed amounts were less than $1,000 per police officer, and that the suspensions enabled the city to recover the money.

But Brewster has declined to provide specific amounts, or to identify the officers involved.

Several sources close to the investigation have speculated that releasing the names of the officers --- some of whom worked undercover --- might put other officers or their cases into jeopardy.

. . .

The mayor's announcement tonight apparently took other officials by surprise, including City Controller Raymond Malinchak, who questioned why the findings were not provided to his office and to city council.

"What evidence does the controller's office see that the money has been recovered?" Malinchak asked Brewster.

Brewster said it was inappropriate to discuss the findings in an open meeting because confidential information was involved.

"I'm considering it a closed case," the mayor said, "and it's a personnel matter not to be discussed in this meeting."

. . .

Brewster, who left following what was an unusually lengthy meeting, was unavailable for further comment.

Because the audit was paid for with city funds, the details should be subject to public inspection under the state's new Right-to-Know Law, which took effect Jan. 1.

. . .

City Solicitor J. Jason Elash told reporters following the meeting that the audit is part of an ongoing investigation by Zappala's office to determine if criminal charges or further punishment is warranted.

"Pre-decisional deliberations" are exempt from the Right-to-Know Law.

Once Zappala's investigation is complete, Elash said, city officials will determine whether all or parts of the audit can be released.

Your Comments are Welcome!

The Mayor caught us all in shock with this one (I think). Since we hired an outside auditor, is it REALLY and internal investigation?

I don’t want names. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s family. I’ll leave that stuff to the online hacks and hoodlums that caused my kids grief this past election…

I do wnat to KNOW (and have a right to) all dollar numbers mis-allocated and how they have been, or will be , returned.

The taxpayers have right to that information and that piece of mind. Also, if the practice was evidenced in 2008, then shouldn’t we be going back further? Just how deep is this rabbit hole?

As the Mayor has told me NOTHING on the subject, and I , an elected financial watchdog of the city am left IN THE DARK, i can only ask the questions.

I don’t have the answers.

Inquiring minds do want to know and in my mind, have every right to.

But I’m not the Mayor….


Paul "Sluggo" Shelly Jr. (URL) - June 04, 2009

jeez, spare us, elected ‘watchdog’???

just what were YOU watching last year? maybe that’s what you were doing when you were skipping meetings and showing up late for the other ones.

and ‘mayor sluggo’ ... oh man … scary … last one out of mck., turn off the light.
fritzi ritz - June 04, 2009

and another thign .. i read your blog, mr shelly, and the crap you were spewing last week about how YOU did this, and YOU did thjat, and YOU got this grant and that grant … blah blah blah … WAY over the top.

i understand politicians brag, but don’t know how you can show your face in public … it was DISGUSTING ..

you owe apologies to a LOT of people!
fritzi ritz - June 04, 2009

Geez, Jason, it is starting to read like a TOPIX forum in your comments area. I’d rather read intelligent comments about the subject than this self promotion and its poorly worded responses. Keep up the good work. I really like to read your articles, and can’t stand weekends when ther isn’t a new one, but it is better kept nuetral.
Adam - June 04, 2009

Ouch! A Topix forum?! You’re cold, man.

Yeah, Adam, I tend to agree with you. I don’t like to censor or delete comments, but let’s not go any further down this road, “fritzi.” You’ve said your piece. And that goes for the rest of yinz, too.

Folks, we run a nice, clean saloon here, and we aims to keep it that way. Let’s not get into any political slap-fights, or so help me, I’ll turn this whole website around and we’ll go home.

Or at the very least, I’ll close the comments.
Webmaster - June 04, 2009

(Comment deleted)

Editor’s Note:

OK, the comments are now closed.

Councilman, I’m sorry, but this is not going to turn into a campaign platform for you or anyone else. You have a blog for that.

Nor am I going to allow this website to deteriorate into the sewage filled flame-fests that go on elsewhere.

Jason Togyer
Executive Director
Tube City Community Media Inc.

Paul Shelly (URL) - June 05, 2009

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