PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – They’re soon to become relics of the past — in fact most all of those old coin-fed parking meters have already been replaced by the multi-space pay-by-plate machines you see around town.

The old meters — about 38 hundred of them — were warehoused here in the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s Transportation Center Downtown — but Controller Michael Lamb say about 380 are missing — metal that should have been turned into cash.

“It’s city dollars, these are public dollars and you should have as much control over public dollars as you can, and what we’ve seen down there is some pretty shoddy handling of public money.”

But the meters are not all that’s missing.

A few months ago, some parking authority employees sent KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan these pictures of scrap metal from another authority warehouse — which they said had also disappeared — and in his audit of the authority Lamb says he tried to get an accounting of just where that metal went.

“Clearly the room was emptied out. Someone came in and took that stuff for scrap. There should have been a paybackto the authority for that. There should be some receipt, and when we ask the authority about it they can’t tell us either. So it really does raise the question of some kind of theft or some kind of fraud.”

I contacted parking authority director Dave Onorato who said he has not yet seen Lamb’s audit of the authority and will withhold comment until he can review its findings and recommendations, but Lamb says the missing scrap may soon become a criminal matter.

“And we will be talking to law enforcement about it as to whether it should investigated as a theft.”

In the rest of his audit controller Lamb actually give the parking authority high marks, but going forward he’d like to see tighter fiscal controls in this authority and all other departments across the city.

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