PICO RIVERA : Water Board Urged to Tighten Expense Policies

Auditors have urged Pico Water District officials to tighten their spending procedures after discovering that officials apparently failed to document thousands of dollars of petty-cash expenditures and credit card purchases.

The audit found no wrongdoing but pointed out that the district had no written policies for filling out receipts or providing other documentation for the spending.

General Manager Joe Dermody said the district has established rules requiring board members and other officials to document spending. "We require receipts on everything now," Dermody said.

The audit, completed last month by Vilmure, Peeler & Boucher of Whittier, examined $29,300 in petty-cash expenditures for six years through December, 1993, and $8,300 in credit card charges from August, 1991, when the cards were issued to board members and the general manager, through December, 1993.

The accountants said there were no receipts for about $4,800 in cash expenditures and $1,800 in credit card charges. An additional $1,500 in credit card charges for lunches included receipts but no explanation of why the meals were considered business expenses.

The board ordered the audit after firing General Manager Harold Maupin in October, 1993.

Board member Fred Silva had accused Maupin and other board members of spending thousands of dollars unnecessarily over the previous three years on such items as lavish banquets and expensive hotel rooms. Maupin had insisted that the expenses were legitimate.

Silva said he was disappointed that the audit didn't include names of officials who failed to provide adequate receipts. Board President Lydia Mae Mercado praised the report. "It was done well and done professionally," she said.

The board is scheduled to review the audit report today.

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