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Boston Finance Commission Demands Full Audit Of Swan Boat Company

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Swan Boats/ WBZ

BOSTON (CBS) – Boston’s Finance Commission is calling for a full audit of the vendor that runs the Swan Boats at the city’s Public Garden.

The contract between the city and the boat operators is up for renewal and officials want to make sure taxpayers are being fairly compensated for the operation’s use of the Public Garden.

In the past three years, Swan Boats, Inc. has reported an average gross income in the $460,000 range, with about $20,000 a year over going to the city.

It’s unclear how much of that goes toward operating expenses.

In a letter to the mayor, the finance commission’s Executive Director, Matthew Cahill notes that the vendor, the Paget family, has provided some details about its operating costs, but the Finance Commission wants to see all operational costs, including owner and employee salaries and/or payments.

“The Parks Department informed us that, though the vendor has provided some figures, they have not provided a full audit nor does The Parks Department have the time to personally undertake the task. This is unacceptable,” the letter read in part. “Since The Fund generates revenue partially through a percentage based formula, it is incomprehensible that The Parks Department has not required the vendor to provide a full accounting of revenues and expenses.”

Cahill noted that he is not taking issue with Swan Boats, Inc., rather, he is concerned with the Parks Department’s handling of the situation.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports

“The vendor is doing what it’s been paid to do, but I think the city of Boston has fallen down a bit here they need to start managing this contract in a better way and include full transparency in this,” he told WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson. “The taxpayers entrust the city employees to keep track of this information, to make sure they are well compensated, that it’s a transparent operation. I felt when I asked for these numbers and they weren’t able to provide them that it was unreasonable because how do you know if you’re getting a fair deal if you don’t have those numbers to look at.”

Swan Boats, Inc. is an all-cash business. The Paget family has operated Swan Boats, Inc. since 1877.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.

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