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Audit: Lack of Controls Over County Gas Cards

Findings show gas cards with names of fired and former employees being used, large number of gas cards assigned to the wrong employee, and only one person in charge of the entire operation

(Buffalo) – The Office of Erie County Comptroller completed an audit of the gas card system in which county employees pump fuel in use for official vehicles.  The audit findings show serious lack of controls and a major breakdown in communication within the county concerning the management of the 701 active “Gasboy” ID cards used to pump gas.  Findings also support the contention that lack of controls could leave the entire system vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse:

  • Only one person is directly in charge over the entire gas card system, leaving no “checks and balances” over the county-wide gas card operation
  • That one employee in charge of the entire operation had gas cards stored in a desk that was in an open office area, out on the open “bullpen” within a floor of the Rath Building, with no locked room/door
  • Gas cards remain active for thirty people no longer employed by county government.  It is believed these gas cards were given to current employees, but the names of fired and former employees remain on the gas card
  • There were 709 gas card transactions, fueling 97 different county vehicles, where the gas card ID of a former county employee was used
  • Over 22% of gas cards issued throughout county government are assigned to the incorrect department or division in the Gasboy system.  This represents 155 county workers using the wrong gas card not specifically assigned to them
  • Many current employees are using gas card ID’s other than their own
  • There are 102 gas card users that registered zero activity for the first six months of the year
  • There is no inventory or log of inactive gas cards 
  • Use of an outdated software system used to manage the gas card system

“There is a troubling lack of controls in the county’s gas card system.  It is extremely vulnerable to threats of fraud, waste, and abuse.  The lack of ‘checks and balances’ needs to be addressed immediately.  Trouble can take place with only one person having that much power and control over hundreds of gas cards.  I am proud of our audit.  Our recommendations, if implemented, will greatly minimize the chances of the system being abused.” 

“In many cases, the county has no idea which employees have gas cards.  The names of fired and former workers are still being used by current employees.  Department heads are not communicating with the Department of Public Works when their employees are no longer on the payroll.  How can you manage a system and prevent abuse when the names of fired workers are still being used on gas cards?”

“Because of our audit, the county built a private office so that gas cards could be locked in a secure office, not in a desk left out in the open.  It is irresponsible to expect only one person to properly maintain checks and balances over all county gas cards.  The county needs another ‘set of eyes’ to prevent abuse before it happens. That is the entire point.  We are being pro-active in preventing abuse by highlighting flaws in the system, and providing positive recommendations to fix them,” said Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw.

Click here to view the Audit Report