Interim City Manager inherits Parkwise, Tucson Water problems

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- With Mike Letcher out, his former deputy Richard Miranda will take over on an interim basis and at the top of his agenda are an investigation of the Parkwise program and an audit of Tucson Water payroll.

The City of Tucson lost thousands of dollars among some 92 parking meters operated by Parkwise parking authority back in June.

Council member Steve Kozachik mentioned last month that this incident was possibly based on a lack of oversight by the City Manager.

Now that Letcher is gone, Kozachik says the council wants to send a message to the public.

"We are serious about it.  The council approved a code amendment that authorized a reorganization of that department that really will help us get our arms around the accountability issues and putting in place some of the management controls that have been lacking," said Kozachik.

After about an hour and a half of meeting in executive session. Mayor and council decided to have General Services continue addressing the issues raised.

"There's a number of different issues that were going on in that agency that were probably going on for a really long time," said Councilman Paul Cunningham.  "One of the situations we've got, we got to be able to have systems in place where that type of thing doesn't happen."

Council has now asked that several things happen so incidents like Parkwise doesn't happen again.

"The key control, the accounting measures to make sure all the money is tracked and all the money is accounted for," said city attorney Mike Rankin.

At Tucson water it's alleged that some of the money in payroll went to workers that reported overtime but didn't work any OT.

"Two employees have alleged that there were some improper payments resulting in overtime," said Interim Director of Tucson Water Andrew Quigley.

Apparently the amount of money paid out was $20,000, of which the budget for overtime is around $31,000.

"The plan is to bring in an outside auditor to do an examination of our payroll from summer of 2008 to current," said Quigley.

An auditor hasn't been chosen but once they are given the green light, Quigley feels the audit should take two weeks.

As for Parkwise, General Services is expected to report back to mayor and council of there progress within 90 days.