Though he’s in Denmark for the week, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has issued an executive order which is meant to help city finance managers better keep track of where and how money is being spent.
“Effective immediately, and until further notice, all explanatory departmental expenditures, those are expenditures under $2,000, other than those that are done pursuant to an approved contract, must be pre-approved by OMB,” said Kevin Acklin, the mayor’s chief of staff.
Until now, city practice allowed departments to spend up to $2,000 at a time without oversight from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This came under fire, in part, after the Tribune-Review raised questions about the purchase of coffee machine for $1,800.
In addition, the executive order directs the Department of Finance to evaluate all trust funds, petty cash pools and accounts that are set up in each city department.
“We inherited a city government of silos,” said Acklin. “You have departments with policies and cash accounts that we don’t even know about. This is a first step to having our new director of finance and our new OMB director put some financial controls in place.”
Acklin also pointed to investigations started last week by the Office of Municipal Investigation (OMI) into an incident at Pittsburgh’s Gay Pride festival and into a $1 million overrun in the implementation of a new payroll system.
“This is a new team, we have new rules,” he said. “Our message to you is this is a new day in the city of Pittsburgh where we demand accountability of everyone whether they are outside at public events or inside this public building.”
Peduto’s executive order also requires the director of OMB to establish written policies and procedures addressing accrual and use of overtime and comp time by non-union employees, pre-approval of all departmental legislation proposed for introduction to City Council and cash management procedures. That policy is to be given to the mayor, department directors, City Council and the city controller within 10 days of the executive order issued Monday.