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Crime and Courts


Akron investigates petty cash problems
Police and auditors are reviewing cash transactions at all rec centers

by WKSU's TIM RUDELL
and M.L. SCHULTZE


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Mayor Don Plusquellic says all rec centers are being scrutinized.
Courtesy of FILE PHOTO, WKSU
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In The Region:

Akron police and Summit County auditors are investigating how cash has been handled at the city’s recreation centers and community programs. 

Mayor Don Plusquellic said today the city got a tip earlier this year about potential problems. One employee has been put on paid leave and the city is considering what action to take against a second worker. The investigation involves all 13 centers and other programs.

LISTEN: Plusquellic on the investigation

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Cash is key
“We’re looking at everywhere where they take in money. There are programs we run, (like) seniors ceramics (where) they’re not bringing in hundreds of dollars in cash -- just to put it in perspective. So there’s more than one, we believe, but we’re looking at all of them.” 

Getting out in front
Plusquellic said he called a news conference to announced the double investigation now, even though the initial probe--an audit—just got going, because issues with cash were spotted in some programs. downtown Akron  That triggered both the immediate look at possible disciplinary action against some employees and a second investigation by Akron police. “We believe there are two people who may have misused the funds; which is a higher level; Yes, we can discipline them, but it may fall into the category of criminal; which is why we have the police involved." 

Public confidence
Plusquellic said each case appears to involved a few thousand dollars at most.  But, he wanted taxpayers to know any misuse of their money will be pursued…and reported to them.  No charges have been filed so no names of those being investigated were released.

City-County cooperation
The audit that uncovered problems is being conducted by Summit CountySummit County Executive Russell Pry through a contract with the City of Akron. The Mayor said Akron's internal auditor position was eliminated in an austerity move about a decade ago.  When he was advised of the possible mishandling of cash in the recreation operations he contacted County Executive Russell Pry and asked for the county's help.  Plusquellic said his administration is working out a permanent arrangement for using the County auditing resources going forward. 

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