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Taxpayer-funded CATS still recovering from prior mismanagement

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Posted: Aug 18, 2014 10:32 PM by Brittany Weiss
Updated: Aug 18, 2014 10:32 PM
Source: WBRZ

  Rating: 0.0 (0 votes)

Topics: CATS, bus, transportation, Bob Mirabito, Together Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE - A newly-released audit provided even more light on the public bus system's mismanaged record keeping.

Auditors reviewed records from 2013 and found Capital Area Transit System money was overspent and not recorded properly. The findings are in addition to previous reports about serious issues with how the previous administration ran the bus company.

CATS CEO Bob Mirabito was not in charge during the time in question. And, while he did not want to comment specifically on the audit, he said since he took control, he has taken a much closer look at accounts.

"We monitor our farebox every day," he said. "I get a report every day telling me exactly what the variance has been."

Mirabito said things have gotten better, but there's plenty more work that still needs to be done.

Auditors found the CATS system improperly paid $35,549 to employees for hours not worked and leave not earned and $169,000 worth of overbilling from the contractor used to perform wheelchair transportation.

Last year, WBRZ uncovered $79,000 worth of bus fares never were deposited. Now, auditors have added there was about $78,000 work of bus passes never collected or deposited, too.

CATS said there are new checks-and-balances. It also disputes the finding about paying former employees more than what was owed, saying handbooks had been updated and auditors did not use the correct version. About the overbilling, CATS said the company is working to balance what was over paid.

Mirabito said he would talk more about the audit at a CATS board meeting Tuesday.

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