City officials are investigating what appears to have been a systemic problem of missing money from Municipal Court receipts.
City Auditor Jim Prescott told the City Council Monday night that a review of 146 days of deposits and 123 deposit sheets in the last fiscal year showed 71 of those sheets showed variances and "a large majority were shortages" ranging from $464 to $1.
On average, deposits from Municipal Court from the review period showed a 3 percent error rate.
City Finance Director Robert Strom told the City Council that the same person had been doing deposits during that period of time. He said if the auditors "found out anything that is a variance like that" to "go ahead and pursue them."
Deputy City Solicitor Evan Kirshenbaum soon took over the podium and said the person doing the deposits is "no longer with the city" and could not comment on the matter at this time.
City Council President Anthony Lupino said he was concerned if the city came to find out there were shortages in the Municipal Court deposits and no action was taken.
"If there's an imbalance and we're having the same people make the same deposits, [shouldn't] we try to get someone new to make some of those deposits?" Lupino asked. "What was the definition of insanity?"
Councilman Emilio Navarro was surprised to learn that the court takes cash payments. He originally asked how there could be a disparity if the deposits were in the form of checks.
"We take cash?" he said. "I guess my question was answered."
"They've got a whole box of rubber checks, if you want to look at it," Lupino said.
Municipal Court collects money from parking and traffic tickets and fines paid by people convicted of violating local ordinances.
This is a developing story. More details will be posted soon.