City official says gas abuse the result of bad habit, not theft - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

City official says gas abuse the result of bad habit, not theft

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ATLANTA -

A city hall manager says bad habits and not thievery is why tens of thousands of gallons of government fuel were pumped at city gas stations without proper authorization.

FOX 5 revealed that an independent audit discovered widespread abuse, including more than $60,000 in fuel pumped from retired workers' gas keys.

Most of city's fueling stations did not have any security personnel. The independent auditor found internal controls can be easily defeated.

Dexter White, the Atlanta Public Works deputy commissioner responsible for the operation of security of government gas pumps, said the audit indicates there could be misuse, but not necessarily blatant theft of the fuel.

At dozens fueling stations around Atlanta, an electronic gas key is the first step to unlocking the pumps. The audit found wide-spread abuse in the system, estimating the amount of gas stolen or improperly dispensed at $700,000.
 
Investigators examined 3,600 questionable transactions in which the gas key did not match up to the current roster of employees. One retired employee's ID was linked to $66,500 of fuel.  In that instance, White explained that high usage came about because another employee got the gas key after that worker retired.

"I think what we have is bad habit instead of someone being crooked," White said.

White said that he has implanted several changes, including limiting the number of times that an employee can refuel in a 24-hour period. Prior to the change, White said that he wasn't aware of a limit.

White acknowledges that the video surveillance system at the fueling stations is inadequate. They can't retrieve time matched video to conclusively determine if somebody is stealing. He says he'll ask the mayor for more than $2 million to upgrade the system.

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