SQUIRREL HILL (KDKA) — Old parking meters are being taken off the street — at least most are being sold for scrap — but in an audit critical of the parking authority, Controller Michael Lamb says about 320 have gone missing from a city warehouse and he wants to know where they went.
“It’s not to say that there was theft but the opportunity was there and we have question about whether or not there was,” Lamb said.
But today Parking Authority Director Dave Onorato called Lamb’s findings a misunderstanding — saying Lamb’s auditors misinterpreted the number of meters provided to them.
“To my knowledge no,” Onorato said. “We removed approximately 3,500 meters from the street. They are either in the warehouse and if they are not they are accounted for.”
But the findings go deeper — saying that the authority also broke procedure by hiring a private vendor to remove scrap from another warehouse — but did not receive payment or keep a record.
Onorato said this was an emergency situation done to remove a safety hazard.
“Outside of procedure, I wouldn’t say but lack of documentation probably could have been better on our part, but as far as theft or criminal activity going on, I would strongly deny that,” he said.
Still, today Lamb referred his findings to the district attorney’s office.
“At the end of the day it’s not a lot of money we’re talking about, but it is public dollars and when you’re talking about public dollars, measure to make sure that public property is handled appropriately,” Lamb said.
There are about 3,000 of the old meters that have yet to be scrapped and the parking authority says they will be properly inventoried and sold.
What happened to the last one may be a subject for the district attorney.