Bradbury Council OKs Tighter Financial Controls

Months after Bradbury's city manager was fired for spending taxpayer dollars on personal luxuries, the City Council Tuesday took a host of steps to restore community confidence and straighten out its fiscal affairs.

In a five-hour meeting, the council accepted the resignation of the city treasurer, searched for an accounting firm that would perform more-thorough audits of the city's spending and management practices, adopted a new set of fiscal guidelines and approved a job description that calls on the treasurer to "question financial policies or procedures that don't make sense."

Officials of the affluent town in the San Gabriel Valley have admitted that the lack of checks and balances allowed former City Manager Aurora (Dolly) Vollaire to spend tens of thousands of dollars on personal items that had nothing to do with city business, such as fine china and designer sunglasses.

The district attorney's office is investigating Vollaire, who was fired in April after 20 years.

Treasurer Betty Christensen, whose resignation was accepted Tuesday, had no accounting experience and admitted she never reviewed the receipts Vollaire submitted to back up her purchases. Those receipts, The Times found in a review of city documents, were frequently cut to eliminate the name of the vendor and items purchased; others clearly showed purchases for questionable items, such as red shoes.

Among other things, the new rules require the use of purchase orders, unlike the days under Vollaire, who used the city credit card or petty cash or sometimes had blank checks cut. Vollaire also would change the monthly list of expenses after they had been approved by the council, then had them signed by the mayor, who did not notice any changes.

As a result, a recall campaign against Mayor Audrey Hon gathered enough signatures for an election, which was set for Nov. 2. Residents in the district of Councilman Tom Melbourn planned to submit their recall petitions today. If enough signatures are certified, Melbourn's name will be added to the recall ballot, the council said.

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