Below is a press release the Council sent out this morning detailing the steps we are taking to address the recent discovery of fraud at SPU. Abuse of taxpayer trust is something I will not tolerate. We will act quickly to ensure that this never happens again.
Committee calls for independent financial review of Seattle Public Utilities
The Libraries, Utilities, and Center Committee, during this morning’s discussion of fraud at Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), called for an independent review of SPU’s financial practices.
“We need to move forward now to immediately fix this problem. Ratepayers demand and deserve financial accountability from the utility. And they will get it,” said Councilmember Jean Godden.
The Committee asked the City Auditor—an independent third party—to conduct an investigation of financial controls at SPU, particularly those related to accounts that could be subject to high risk transactions such as the water main accounts.
“The public trust has been broken. Only through systematic review and tight new financial controls can we restore trust and provide the services we all expect,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.
The Committee requested that the City Auditor and SPU report to the Committee with a scope of work by March 27, 2012 and present plan details to the Committee at the April 3, 2012 meeting.
The plan will address the immediate water main extension revenue problem and recommend whether all SPU development fees should be part of the review.
By the end of this week the Committee will send a letter to the City Auditor and SPU detailing issues it would like to see examined in their review.
“The Committee will participate in every step of this process,” said Councilmember Godden. “There will be no discussion of new utility rates until Seattle Public Utilities gets its house in order.”