Reporting Sera Congi
BOSTON (CBS) – The city of Lynn will be investigating allegations of financial improprieties of funds marked for snow removal.
The city recently uncovered a $500,000 transfer that city leaders call a mistake. The money was used to pay salaries in the Department of Public Works.
“I think it’s important for taxpayers to know that we’ve taken decisive action on this, and corrected it immediately,” says Rich Fortucci, Lynn’s Chief Financial Officer.
The budget transfer was discovered after auditors noticed the city went over budget on snow removal – even though there wasn’t much snow to remove this past Winter.
Jay Fink was the commissioner of Lynn’s DPW when the alleged mistake occurred. He says he did not do anything improper.
“That’s the way it’s budgeted. That’s the way it’s set up. That’s the way the budget was approved by the Mayor. That’s the way the budget was approved by the City Council,” Fink told WBZ-TV Wednesday.
Fink recently left the position to move to Florida for family reasons. He spoke to us by phone, saying this budget practice has gone on for years.
“There was never anything inappropriate about the way the money was being spent,” he says. ” The taxpayer has not been wronged.”
In a statement, City Solicitor Michael J. Barry said, “Obviously, this demonstrates a very poor accounting and budgetary practice which may run afoul of laws relating to municipal finance. Our office has requested documentation regarding all monies expended out of the snow and ice budget in order to determine the appropriate course of action for past errors and to ensure that moving forward the city adheres to the laws of the Commonwealth.”
After the investigation and consultation with the Department of Revenue and city auditors, the Solicitor’s Office will send a full report to the mayor and City Council.