The New Orleans Office of Inspector General says the city has a fuel card problem.
According to a report recently published examining New Orleans’ fuel dispensing program in 2015, the city has failed to adopt adequate theft detection and prevention measures attached to city fleet and fuel cards.
“Given this significant investment, the city needs effective fuel dispensing controls to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and to guard against wasteful and fraudulent fuel use,” the Inspector General said.
The city spent $3.2 million on fuel in 2015, analysts said.
But, according to IG Ed Quatrevaux, New Orleans hasn’t taken action to combat the issue of vulnerable fleet cards. The report found that there are no restrictions on how much fuel can be purchased with these government cards at one time, and that there are no controls in place to prevent non-city officials or non-authorized card users from purchasing fuel.
There are also no controls to safeguard against spending fraud, with no measure to deactivate fuel cards that are no longer in use. The report also found evidence that city employees recorded incorrect odometer readings when filling their tanks so New Orleans had no way of knowing how many miles an employee had driven before purchasing more fuel.
“Evaluators found little oversight of the City’s fuel dispensing program,” the report stated. “Policies and controls over fuel dispensing were unenforced and ineffective.”
Commentary in NOLA.com described the situation as “a recipe for fraud.”
In its report, the Office of Inspector General issued recommendations to help the city better control its fuel card spending.
Those recommendations include having the city reissue PINs for authorized fuel users, to reissue fuel cards for all vehicles, and establish a more effective training program to ensure proper spending and adherence to guidelines.