Tuesday, October 2, 2012

URGENT Audit Urgency

Just to follow up on yesterday's announcement, Elliott Auerbach conducting a full forensic audit of the assets seized by URGENT is long overdue. This in fact should have been done as a matter of course after the Matthews incident:
Auerbach said it is possible the poor accounting could have enabled former Kingston police Detective Lt. Timothy Matthews to steal money from URGENT and the county.

In pleading guilty in Janaury to two felony counts of grand larceny, Matthews admitted stealing more than $50,000 from the city (for which he headed the city police department’s Detective Division) between Jan. 1, 2001, and Feb. 3, 2011; and more than $50,000 from the county (for which he headed URGENT) between March 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2010, the District Attorney’s Office said at the time. Matthews was sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison and ordered to pay $212,000 in restitution.
Personally, I would be shocked if it turned out that Matthews was the only one with his hand in the cookie jar. Unfettered piles of cash are a huge temptation for even the most stalwart public servant, so careful regulation eliminates any potential for wrongdoing.

And I'll go you one further: why doesn't all the money go into the general fund? Why should law enforcement keep some of it? Sure, it's an added incentive to provide good police service. But shouldn't the police provide good service as a matter of course? And the county and local municipalities are broke. Shouldn't elected officials be deciding how to appropriate these funds as part of an ongoing democratic process? Allowing the cops to keep part of it seems silly, especially when they usually get bumped to the front of the line at budget time.

All proceeds from these raids should go the the county/municipality and be applied to the general fund, maybe even property tax relief.

Keep digging, Elliott. What else might you find?

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