MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon Safety-Service Director David Glass has confirmed to the News that city employee Greg Vickers is under investigation by the city for theft.
“There have been some allegations about Greg and we are looking into them,” Glass said. “The alleged thefts came to light last week. We started looking at some of the purchases and I got an opportunity to ask him some questions [Monday] morning.”
Glass said Vickers had been on vacation and just returned to work Monday. Vickers has not been placed on any kind of administrative leave at this time.
Glass said the allegations are that Vickers purchased items for his personal use through city vendors.
“We are looking at a time period of two years,” Glass added. “I will be looking the information over and will have a decision in the next couple of days at the most.”
Charges will depend on the results of the investigation, according to Glass.
Glass declined to indicate what the questionable items were.
Vickers is a meter reader and repair foreman for the Water and Wastewater Department. He has been employed with the city for nearly 35 years.
City employees make purchases from local vendors on purchase orders opened for specific projects.
According to Terry Scott, city auditor, a foreman can request a purchase order be opened.
“At the department level, typically it’s a supervisory person like a foreman,” said Scott. “They are usually the originator, that is the person who decides he needs some supplies. They get it filled out and get the dollar amount they are looking for. Then there’s a place on the form for them to sign off. The department head is to review the purchase order and sign off on it. If it is a department that is not covered by an elected official, the purchase order goes to the safety-service director. If it is a department covered by an elected official, that step can be skipped. Once the safety-service director approves it, it is filed with us (auditor’s office) we will set up the purchase order for an encumbrance and we will file it back with the originating department to be carried out.”
Once the purchase order is closed, the order and receipts are provided to the auditor’s office for verification.
The procedure for getting and using a purchase order for general supplies and contractors is two-fold, according to Chief Assistant Auditor Patty McCann.
“You have to separate between day-to-day items that are recurring and projects going through a contractor,” she said. “The first are usually things like office supplies. These are authorized by the department head and purchases are made against a budgeted, set amount with the vendor.”
As an example, a department might have $500 budgeted for office supplies with a particular vendor. The vendor will have a standing purchase order for the budgeted amount and apply the cost of an order to that purchase order. Usually a department head will authorize an employee to make the order. The purchase orders can be requested by an authorized employee, but then are approved by the department head. After the department head, it goes to the safety-service director for approval.
A project done through a contractor is a different matter, Scott said.
“Those are generally done with blanket purchase order and not for specific items,” he said. “Generally a blanket purchase order is made for the cost of the entire contract and purchases are made against it. Usually those are done by a foreman and then the invoices are submitted to the development manager of the engineer’s office who handles those contracts. Contractors submit their invoices for payment and these invoices are checked against the blanket purchase order.”
As far as keeping track of inventory, that is the responsibility of each department. The city does not have a warehouse, according to McCann. Many items are purchased as needed, she said.