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.

Comments (4)
  1. fred says:

    The city makes money the way it is run now. If they take it over with the swan boaters union, employee benefits and retirement for seasonal workers who will collect unemployment during the off season they will have to charge $ 75.00 a ride just to break even. Better yet just turn it over to the Greenway and the state will have to throw in another million for the six figure salaried swan boat captain. Maybe since it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.

  2. Mike says:

    Makes me think someone wants to push the Paget family out of the Swan Boat business. Then they will be able to hold a nation search to find another operator who just happens to be a friend of a friend of the Boston Finance Committee. The real cool thing is that the fee for going around the pond will go from very reasonable to $12.00. So we are making a big deal over a few thousand dollars. Just leave it alone

  3. Bruce says:

    Good comments Fred and Mike. SOunds like the same plan they have to taking over the carosel at the Greenway…..

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