City managers were questioned about procedures at government gas pumps after an audit showed widespread theft at the fueling stations. The audit showed that city employees fueled up more than twice in one day more than 6,000 times.
For an hour on Wednesday, Atlanta City Council members grilled city managers about the use of fuel that could have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars over the years.
Independent auditor Leslie Ward clearly believes there has been significant theft of city fuel. Her audit found numerous holes on what she labeled a breakdown on security features, allowing workers to fuel up all day, 24 hours a day. In some cases, managers didn't know if it a government vehicle or personal vehicle that was fueling up.
One unnamed employee fueled up 10 15-passenger vans in one day – using a total of 196 gallons.
In another instance, a city employee apparently used a police major's ID to fuel up a vehicle. The major was interviewed and he said it wasn't him.
Atlanta Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza promised to do better.
"The expectation of our management that are keeping track on our fuel is that they are good stewards of this resource of the city," said Mendoza.
The city has had this system since 2005. The managers admitted on Wednesday that they only activated some of the security techniques this summer – after Ward had started their audit.
Motorists paying high fuel prices are angry at the thought of city workers stealing government fuel.
"It really ticks me off, yes. I mean, I'm going to work every day, paying for my gas, he should pay for his too," said one motorist.
One problem the city has had is pinpointing abusers in an inadequate video monitoring system. The public works manager is asking the mayor for more than $2 million to upgrade the surveillance system.