City of San Diego Recovers Millions in Misspent Funds

Losses were due to invoice errors and double payments officials said

By Brandi Powell and R. Stickney
|  Monday, Nov 26, 2012  |  Updated 4:50 PM PDT
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NBC 7 reporter Brandi Powell spoke with San Diego City Councilmember Carl Demaio about millions of taxpayer dollars that were spent in error.

NBC 7 reporter Brandi Powell spoke with San Diego City Councilmember Carl Demaio about millions of taxpayer dollars that were spent in error.

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Over the past three years, the City of San Diego spent almost $5.5 billion. Now we’re learning millions of those taxpayer dollars were spent in error.

The City’s Audit Committee learned Monday that its staffers found $2 million in city funds was misspent. The losses were due to invoice errors and double payments officials said.

City Council President Pro Tem Kevin Faulconer said every misspent taxpayer dollar returned is another dollar that can go toward various public programs.

Now, the City is in the process of contacting those vendors who were overpaid and requesting either a refund or a credit.

Committee members and the Comptroller's Office publicly thanked Councilman Carl DeMaio, for pushing this first-of-its-kind Recovery Audit Program.

DeMaio said he’s pleased with the results and the effort to implement what he said is a good business practice.

This process wasn't about finding any wrongdoing or incompetence he said.

“This is about recognizing when you have the volume of transactions as the size of San Diego has, you’re going to have errors as a cost of doing business,” he said.

In the program's next stage, DeMaio said he wants to see a particular focus on certain other common payment mistakes.

Through current controls, the City's Comptroller pays 99.996 percent of its disbursements accurately according to the report. 

Later Monday, the San Diego City Council will look at how issues, such as pension return will affect the city's budget.

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