A closer look
Stories spark audit of city credit-card purchases
Shortly after the Pasadena Weekly revealed problems with excessive and at times improper use of city-issued credit cards by some of top officials, City Manager Michael Beck announced all credit purchases would be examined by an outside auditor.
In a separate but related development, a Superior Court judge has ruled against claims made by members of the Pasadena Management Association, who said, among other things, that they were discriminated against due to their age and denied due process when they were laid off in February.
One of those people, former Finance Department Management Analyst Thelma “Jean” Luter, 63, was the sole person at City Hall charged with monitoring the use of credit cards, which have been issued to 365 employees in the city’s 16 departments.
With the absence of Luter, who just before being let go recommended card suspensions for two top officials for what she called questionable purchases, department heads will now be responsible for monitoring credit cards used by their respective employees, Beck said.
“To ensure adequate and effective monitoring of the city’s purchasing card program, the current city’s external audit will be expanded to provide an added focus on the purchasing card program,” Beck wrote in his weekly newsletter to employees. “The expanded scope will include a review of adherence to the current policy and recommendations for improvement, including monitoring processes and policy changes. It is anticipated that the purchasing card program portion of the expanded audit will be completed within 30 days.”
The audit will be conducted by Brown-Armstrong Certified Public Accountants of Bakersfield.
Last week, Judge Luis Lavin ruled against Luter and six other PMA employees — Sheri Stevenson, Emily Stadnicki, Neville Pereira, Antonio Gardea, Ursula Schmidt and Maria Valenzuela — who were seeking a temporary injunction that would have forced the city to rehire them. The employees claimed that Beck conspired with council members and other top officials to fire them during a closed session meeting earlier this year.
Earlier this year, Luter — a 31-year city employee — recommended that cards issued to Human Services and Recreation Director Mercy Santoro and Rozanne Adanto, a supervisor in the department, be suspended.