Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that a local firm will audit the City's golf program, including its system of financial controls. The Mayor said the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) is conducting an investigation into the actions of a golf program employee.
On Thursday, July 12, the City Purchasing Division discovered the existence of a contract reportedly between the City's Ager Junior Golf Course and a local soft drink vending company. The contract had not been approved by the Mayor's Office, the City Council or the Parks and Recreation Director. It was voided Friday. The Mayor said further investigation this week shows the contract may have included terms that allegedly benefit the employee personally. The City also is examining if the arrangement was approved by the employee's supervisor.
"While the amount in question appears to be about $3,000 at this point, the utilization of public resources for private benefit of even a small amount jeopardizes the trust between the City and its citizens," Beutler said. "We have moved quickly to deal with the situation and ensure the appropriate action is taken."
Following the City's Personnel Code, the employee in question and the supervisor have been suspended for investigation purposes up to 30 days without pay. If the allegations are found to be without merit, the employees will be exonerated, reinstated and paid for the time they were suspended. If the allegations are true, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
"We should not assume anything until the Police Department and the auditing firm have had the opportunity to finish their work," Beutler said. "The employees involved must be presumed innocent until gathered evidence proves otherwise."
The firm that will audit the golf program is HBE, which has two nationally certified fraud examiners on staff and extensive experience working with the LPD white collar crime division.