Here’s your chance to bust a shady city agency!
Comptroller John Liu is asking Brooklynites to suggest agencies that should be audited for financial mismanagement — and he’s promised to pursue at least one resident’s allegation of waste within a few weeks.
“Nobody in city government at any level knows exactly everything that’s going on the ground, in the grassroots, in the communities,” Liu said at the ask-for-an-audit town hall meeting last Thursday at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch.
The comptroller heard almost 20 audit recommendations at the public meeting, but people can still submit their suspicions of monetary waste and fraud online at www.comptroller.nyc.gov. City agencies are audited most often — at least once every four years — but private businesses that operate on city-owned property are also fair game to be inspected.
The comptroller’s office usually audits about 60 organizations each year.
So far, a fair amount of Brooklynites have accused the Department of Education of squandering dough, though many also want to nail the Department of Transportation and health care agencies, said Scott Sieber, the comptroller’s spokesman.
The ask-for-an-audit is part of Liu’s effort to bulk up the city’s Audit Bureau in the face of the widespread budget crunch. The Bureau inspects agencies’ expenditures, revenues and activity logs to make sure that they aren’t selfishly blowing taxpayer money.
And he’s had some successes; last year, Liu’s office found that the Economic Development Corporation — the organization charged with creating jobs — was hoarding $120 million and forced it to return the money to the city coffers.
“We have some very difficult budget scenarios coming up and we have to do everything we could to keep services for New Yorkers,” Liu said. “Our goal is to make sure that no money is being wasted through fraud, abuse or otherwise.”
Liu’s auditing activities also made Brooklyn Paper headlines earlier this month, when his office said that it is investigating a sales tax scheme at the River Café in DUMBO.