Long Beach City Hall.

A report released Wednesday from Long Beach City Auditor Laura Doud says more controls are needed to protect money and prevent theft in the department tasked with collecting and processing millions of dollars in city revenue.

The Financial Management Department’s Central Cashiering Section processed more than $436 million in city revenue last year, including payments for services like utility bills, parking tickets and business licenses.

In her audit, Doud found that while the department does have some controls in place, it needs more safeguards to reduce the risk of fraud.

The audit found the following concerns:

  • Cash, checks, deposits and keys to safes and cash drawers were sometimes left unsecured, and in one case, an employee left $271,000 in unendorsed checks sitting on a desk.
  • Tasks like sorting mail, preparing deposits and counting cash were not always done under camera surveillance.
  • Employees had “unnecessary or inappropriate” access to revenue recording systems.                                                            

The audit recommended several improvements, including providing specific work areas for mail-sorting, deposit preparation and cash storage and ensuring that each work area is monitored by camera surveillance. The audit also recommended removing system access for employees who don’t need it.

In a news released, Doud said the financial management department agreed with the audit’s recommendations and said that many changes were implemented during the audit, including lock boxes for unendorsed checks and corrections to system access privileges.

“By implementing these changes, the city can further ensure all revenue collected is deposited completely and timely to the city’s treasury,” she said.

View the complete audit here.