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Left In Lowell » Blog Archive » Scandal At The Kiosk/Madonna Mashup: Vogue

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June 23, 2012

Scandal At The Kiosk/Madonna Mashup: Vogue

by at 8:37 am.

If ever there was a perfect song for today’s “scandal” it is this:



“Auditing 101 is that when a red flag like this turns up, you don’t sit around and do nothing for two months,” Elliott said.


Kennedy said he is wondering why the auditor and the Treasurer’s Office did not notice the poor tracking of kiosk receipts until April of this year, considering Central Parking System’s most recent three-year contract with the city began in October 2009.


“The auditor works for the council, not the city manager,” added Mercier. “As soon as she tells the manager about anything, we should know about it.”

Mercier’s motion calls on City Manager Bernie Lynch to provide a report on what steps will be taken regarding oversight of money collected in the parking garages and kiosks, as well as the collection of fines.


Lorrey’s motion is broader. It requests that Mayor Patrick Murphy or Vice Chairman Joseph Mendonca call a special meeting with Lynch, Wright and Craveiro regarding steps to be taken to ensure proper recording of cash in the city.


“Her job is to keep us informed and not smooth over things in the different departments,” Mendonca said. “We are all adults and we can handle the information.”


Martin said there was no reason for the auditor or treasurer to suspect missing money and pursue an immediate internal audit.

“The point was to change the practice and that is what they did,” he said.


Broderick agreed there was no reason for Craveiro or Wright to believe there was missing money in the Parking Department and said if the auditor went around checking if city departments are withholding information that may indicate missing money, it would be a costly and time-consuming endeavor.


“What was not immediately preventable by the city was the deliberate and concealed misuse of the kiosk system and its related software,” Lynch said. “While these actions would not have continued indefinitely, their existence only just came to light as a result of a ‘concerned citizen.’”

This is not to say all these poses are equally outlandish. Some are defensive and some are offensive. You, dear reader, have to decide which ones are which.

6 Responses to “Scandal At The Kiosk/Madonna Mashup: Vogue”

  1. Joe S. Says:

    The fact that it required an anonymous source to bring this to a head says that the City’s systems and actions, or lack thereof, left something to be desired. The April correction of the procedure was a positive step in that regard, however it is pretty clear that the change should have been announced to the city council during the Auditor’s turn in the chamber. Had that been done in may have precipited further questions and led to the exposure of the improper agreement.

    Now there is likely to be an overreaction to the problem, so if not careful the City could incur unnecessary costs. For example, banning the current contractor from future contracts may end up costing the City money in the long run.

  2. JC Says:

    Everyone should be outraged when a public official breaks faith with his duty to work for the people. Apparently, there was a systemic lapse that was exploited, we want that addressed, we want it fixed. Of course, much of the reaction from councilors will be a mixture of legitimate concern and empty, thunderous rhetoric aimed at political advantage. Where’s the surprise in that?

    The bottom line is that the CM is paying the political price for betrayal by a trusted subordinate. There was absolutely nothing he could have done about that, you just don’t see it coming - the knife that stabs you in the back. The lapse in not using the kiosk software, however, is difficult to explain. I don’t think the systemic failure was the CM’s fault, but someone can and will catch hell over it.

    If nothing else, this incident should be a reminder to all: there is a reason we have accountants, auditors, financial checks and balances and all the rest…people are wonderful and can generally be relied upon to do the right thing, but people can and do fail. Trust but verify! Trust but verify! Trust but verify!

  3. Jack Says:

    “… the change should have been announced to the city council during the Auditor’s turn in the chamber.”

    In theory, I concur. Democracy can work very well, when all minds a bent towards solutions. Sadly, we have a couple of Councilors obsessed with plaÿing a high stakes game of “pin the tail on the donkey.” They have their blindfolds on, the Blog of Record spins them around and around, and off they go, pin in hand.

  4. ax41 Says:

    The SUN paraphrases Councillor Broderick , but if an accurate summary, he seems to be saying that the Auditor’s job is something other than checking to be sure that the City is getting an honest count.

  5. Jack Says:

    I take it as meaning the Auditor works with each department without an assumption of guilt, that each department is not “withholding information.”

    There is a question of what is an appropriate level of “due diligence.” I think it is fair to wonder aloud if the auditor meets the industry standard. Lowellians are within their rights to require our municipal government employ appropriate “checks and balances.”

    The manager states emphatically, those “checks and balances” were intentionally subverted. The Auditor, imho, is not required to panic, in the kneejerk fashion prevelant among political grandstanders. The process of auditing, I presume, is a vigilant one, based on methodical and consistant practices.

    No mousetrap catches every mouse. The mice get smarter with each iteration of mousetrap design.

  6. Prince Charming Says:

    Don’t they have any other councilor’s picture that they can put on the front page? It’s getting old, boys.

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