The Revere City Council voted 10-1 to approve a motion by Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo to bring in the state auditor to review the city’s finances in all city departments.
Rotondo’s motion was in response to the continuing investigation of the city’s parking operations and a report, conducted by a certified public accounting firm, that showed there was no revenue from parking meters turned over to the city for a 10-month period spanning the years 2017 and 2018.
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky cast the lone negative vote for the motion that will be presented again for a vote at the next City Council meeting on Aug. 27.
“I want the state auditor to review every city department,” said Rotondo, adding that he was pleased with his fellow councillors’ support of his motion. “I think my colleagues on the Council recognize this issue as being important This is something in my experience that you need to have the state auditor take a look at.”
Mayor Brian Arrigo placed two employees in the Revere Parking Department on unpaid, administrative leave after reviewing the findings of the accounting firm’s report. Another audit on all city accounts, commissioned by Arrigo, identified $2 million in city funds, of which nearly $800,000 has been returned to the city treasury.
Speaking about the councillors’ vote, Arrigo said, “As soon it gets to my desk, we’ll take a look at it. I’m not against any kind of review (of city finances).”
Rotondo said the Parking Department issue should have been addressed sooner than the end of the 10-month period in which there were no funds turned over to the city.
“I am thoroughly upset that the mayor did not report to law enforcement in 2017 when this was amiss,” said Rotondo. “This is malfeasance at its worst, but more importantly, to then accuse one of the individuals, and put him on administrative leave without pay, with no evidence, is a problem within itself. And this screams ‘political’ and that’s why I want the state auditor in here, because they don’t play politics.”
It is expected that the City Council will take up Rotondo’s motion at the next meeting and approve it.
Arrigo said the overall reaction to the outside audits that revealed the parking meter funds discrepancy and discovered $800,000 in funds has been positive in the city.
“We want to make sure that there’s confidence for every resident who does business with the city,” said Arrigo. “It’s my job to make sure that people feel confident when they put money in a meter, or they’re paying for a permit in cash, that the cash goes to the right place, that the cash is providing services to our residents. There are other departments that handle cash and we’re going to make sure that each one of those departments has a deep review and the cash they give to the city of Revere goes to where it’s supposed to go. We’re here to fix decades of mismanagement and decades of issues.”
Arrigo said the Revere Police Department, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office are conducting an ongoing investigation of the parking meter funds’ matter.
Editor’s Note: Councillor Rotondo said he had spoken with the attorney representing only one of the two individuals who had been placed on unpaid, administrative leave. He explained that is the reason why he is only commenting on that individual’s situation and not the other individual who has also been placed on unpaid, administrative leave.