Report No. 2008-62
Complete Audit Report
The following findings were included in our audit report on the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen.
The Board of Aldermen accountable expense reimbursement policy needs to be improved. The policy allows several items to be reimbursed that do not appear to be prudent uses of taxpayer monies. In addition, some accountable expense plan reimbursement requests were not submitted in a timely manner and adequate supporting documentation was not received or retained for some expense reimbursements. Each alderman is allocated $4,200 annually to be used on expense account items, such as charitable contributions, office expenses, flowers and gifts, lobbying expenses, and travel expenses. During the 22 months ended April 30, 2008, eleven aldermen elected the accountable expense plan and were required to submit documentation for expense reimbursements.
The Board of Aldermen President used his city-owned vehicle for personal use and did not maintain vehicle usage logs to document official commuting and personal use of the vehicle. Without adequate usage logs, the board cannot effectively monitor that the vehicle is used only for official business.
The Board of Aldermen minutes are prepared and signed by the clerk/legal counsel; however, they are not signed by a member of the Board of Aldermen. In addition, reasons and the vote for closing meetings are not documented in the minutes of the open meeting. Also, the closed meeting minutes did not include sufficient detail of matters discussed and actions taken.
The Board of Aldermen considers all 15 of its employees exempt from the overtime and compensatory time provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and, therefore, not entitled to overtime compensation. However, several of these employees may not be exempt from these provisions. The board should review its overtime classifications of employees and, if necessary, consult with the U.S. Department of Labor to ensure compliance with the FLSA.
The Board of Aldermen should review procedures for approval of reimbursement of personal cellular telephone usage. In February 1997, the Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance prohibiting the possession or use of city-owned cellular telephones except for those designated by resolution of the Board of Aldermen. However, various city departments currently reimburse employees for use of their personal cellular telephones and approval by the Board of Aldermen for employees to receive this reimbursement is not required.