Financial Investigation of Dewey Beach Departments is Over
At Friday's regular meeting, the board of commissioners voted to accept the findings of a report that discovered thousands of dollars held by the police department and beach patrol.
TGM Group, an independent financial group that led the investigation, found that the money in an alleged police slush fund had been accounted for with the town, and had ultimately been mismanaged. The money from that account came from selling equipment acquired in a federal military surplus program for police.
The report also found $23,000 in a private bank account controlled by the beach patrol, which was eventually turned over to the town as part of the investigation.
Recommendations on how the town should address what the report called deficiencies were included in the final report.
"We have not taken any new equipment from the Law Enforcement Support Office [LESO] program right now," said Scott Koenig, the town manager.
"We have not told the police department that they can't, but we've said if you identify a piece of equipment that you're interested in, I would like to be part of the decision-making as to whether we actually purchase the equipment or not."
Some of the deficiencies found include a lack of duty separation, improper bookkeeping and no history of proper accounting practices. It's a hard-hitting assessment but one the council agreed with.
"I, as a former mayor, other former mayors, we didn't keep tabs on things," said commissioner Dale Cook. "As far as I know, we didn't ask for a listing of what did you get, when did you get it, and what did you do with it."
Despite the final report, several audit committee members say they're not satisfied with everything, raising concerns about what's not included in the final document.
"They found $210,000 worth of vehicles and equipment and so forth, but in reality, that means that they counted things only over $5,000 toward that inventory and there are many, many items that are lesser than that are basically unaccounted for," said Diane Hanson, an audit committee member and former mayor of Dewey Beach.
TGM said LESO items valued less than $5,000 were not counted toward the investigation for the sake of efficiency and time.
The final version of the report, which is called the agreed upon procedures, will be available as early as next week.
The audit committee will discuss the report's recommendations at the next meeting, how the town should implement them, and if more should be explored to have better and more appropriate financial management protocols in the future.
The next audit committee meeting will be on Friday, Aug. 17 at 9am.