Petty cash an issue with operating departments, Philly controller says

Listen
 Philadelphia Controller Alan anticipates the city will raise its property tax to address what could be a billion-dollar school district deficit by 2013. (File)

Philadelphia Controller Alan anticipates the city will raise its property tax to address what could be a billion-dollar school district deficit by 2013. (File)

Philadelphia’s controller intends to clamp down on city employees who skirt spending-report requirements by dipping into petty cash. 

Controller Alan Butkovitz said he’s seen it happen repeatedly, as city workers break down bigger expenses into $500 chunks so they can be covered with replenishable petty cash funding.

“One example was fleet management where they chopped a $2,000 E-ZPass charge into four $500 bite sizes,” he said.

Still, Butkovitz said, he doesn’t want to cut the amount of petty cash available to the city’s operating departments.

“Inflation is a factor over time and, in some instances, the city rules are too burdensome to deal with emergencies so if we got people down to $100 in petty cash, it might be impossible to deal with certain urgent items,” he said.

The controller says a re-education program is underway to deal with the problem.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.