State Audit Questions Newark Expenses
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. December 3, 2013
Even though the Booker administration reduced the overall budget in Newark, a new audit by the state comptroller finds there was still some questionable spending.
New Jersey Comptroller Matt Boxer says hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts to cover unused sick time to retiring employees put a burden on the city’s budget.
“That is a recurring issue throughout the state that we have found. Some municipalities have taken more aggressive action that others in terms of capping leave time.”
The audit also found Newark improperly overpaid more than 200-thousand-dollars for things such as clothing allowances and hazard duty.
Boxer says the more than $10 million appropriated for the Newark Council and Clerk offices far exceeded the amount spent in other large New Jersey cities, and identified some questionable spending in the council’s budget.
“Things like council members paid a total $11,500 for photography services to take pictures of them at various events. The council paid hotel charges for a softball team that was visiting Newark to the tune of $3,900.”
A state-appointed monitor has been working with the city to lower expenses, and Boxer says the audit did not find anything to indicate the monitor was not acting appropriately.