Mayor Brian Arrigo has placed two employees in the Revere Parking Department on unpaid, administrative leave following the release of a report that showed only one coin turnover from the city’s parking meters had been made
during fiscal year 2018.
According to the review of the city’s parking operations conducted by Roselli, Clark and Associates (Certified Public Accounting firm), the one turnover of coins was made on July 14, 2017 in the amount of $2,197. There were no other coin turnovers during the 10-month period preceding the start of the firm’s review on May 14, 2018.
The city’s parking meters generated $140,000 in 2010 but since that time, the funds have dropped steadily, having been “reduced to nearly zero by fiscal year 2018.”
“The city’s parking program is broken at multiple levels, lacks many handling controls and is in serious need of rehabilitation,” the report stated.
Arrigo addressed the City Council about the matter at the Council meeting Monday night, saying that after reviewing a separate report by Clifton Larsen Allen concerning cash management and procedures in the city’s accounting system, “I ordered an independent review of the Parking Department by the CPA firm, Roselli, Clark and Associates.”
Arrigo described the results of the review of the Parking Department as, “alarming.”
The mayor said that of the city’s 274 parking meters, only 145 were in operation. But the real eye-opening revelation came when Arrigo detailed the precipitous decline in revenues from the parking meters during the last 16 years.
“Parking revenue that exceeded $100,000 from 2002 to 2011, peaking at over $140,000 in the year from 2010 to 2011, begin to decline in 2012, with further drops in 2013, 2014, and 2015,” said Arrigo. “That slide continued in parking meter revenue and it was down to zero in the 10 months that preceded our review.
“This review found an estimated $90,000 in unaccounted for revenue over the last four years,” Arrigo added. “I’ve taken the necessary disciplinary action by placing two of our department employees on unpaid, administrative leave and I have referred this issue to law enforcement. At this time, I will refrain from comment as there is an ongoing investigation.”
Arrigo said his administration has begun the process “to change the Parking Department from a dysfunctional operation to a revitalized, modern, and productive model of municipal government.”
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo asked the mayor about the 10-month period in which there were no parking meter receipts. “Why was there allowed to be 10 months before having an outside auditor, of all things, to come in and recognize that?”
Arrigo said when he took office as mayor in January, 2016, the new auditor in his administration identified some cash management policies that needed to be reviewed.
“It was only when we had a new auditor identify this issue that we contacted our outside auditor for a review,” said Arrigo.
When Rizzo pressed the mayor again on the 10-month absence of parking meter deposits, Arrigo responded, “This is a long-standing issue. When we looked in to this department and it was clear that there were unaccounted for revenues, it was clear there needed to be disciplinary action taken. It’s clear that this was an issued that started to 2017 and 2018, and as it was identified, it was dealt with, and it’s being fixed.”
Rizzo said that when he was mayor, he received monthly revenue reports “that I would look at.”
“I’m just curious why 10 months of no receipts did not get recognized except by an outside auditor.”
In an interview following his remarks at the Council meeting, Arrigo reaffirmed that there is an ongoing investigation in to what he called “a very serious matter.”
“We have been in contact with the Attorney General’s Office and the investigation is ongoing,” said the mayor.
Arrigo added that the money being generated by the parking meters is now going in to the city’s accounts.
“I can assure the residents that the money going in to the parking meters is getting deposited in to the city’s coffers and that it is accounted for,” said Arrigo.