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The Sacramento City Council is getting set to launch – not one, but two – audits of credit card use at City Hall in the wake of a scandal among the ranks of council staff uncovered last week.
Both the first audit, an internal investigation into the use of approximately 300 city-issued credit cards by employees citywide, and the second audit, which extends higher up the chain at City Hall to the offices of City Council members and the mayor, are on the council agenda for Thursday night.
According to a city staff report, the second audit will be conducted by an external company, is expected to cost the city $12,000 and will take about two weeks. The internal audit is expected to be complete by the end of October.
City Councilman Steve Cohn, chair of the city’s Audit Committee, put the item on the agenda, and told council members the additional audit by an external company is necessary to avoid a conflict of interest for City Auditor Jorge Oseguera, who reports directly to the council.
The first audit was already on the city auditor’s schedule for later this year, but once the news broke of questionable credit card use by former council operations manager Lisa Serna-Mayorga, Cohn called for it to be moved up.
“I feel there is some urgency to getting the results of the audit sooner than planned,” Cohn told the council July 31.
In last Wednesday’s Sac Press Live Chat, Cohn explained why he was requesting that the council act quickly on both audits.
The Serna-Mayorga case is the subject of criminal investigation by the Sacramento Police Department. The city has refused to release credit card records to the Sacramento Bee and other media outlets, saying the release of the records could hamper the investigation.
"Premature disclosure of this evidence could hinder voluntary and candid participation in the investigation by city employees and other witnesses, including members of the public," the city attorney wrote in a letter to the Bee, reports Ryan Lillis.