News Story

Auditors Discover Oversight Failure At Detroit Fire Department

More than 200 former employees had department fuel cards

The Detroit Fire Department says that it has corrected a lack of oversight involving more than 200 fuel cards that were given to people who were no longer on the payroll as active employees.

A 2018 audit of the Detroit Fire Department determined that no one in management was looking at who was using the cards or how much fuel was being purchased with them.

The audit found that 206 of the fire department’s 962 fuel cards had been assigned to people no longer on the active payroll.

Monthly fuel usage reports were not reviewed by the fire department.

And 52 Detroit Fire Department employees had more than one card. One employee had four.

The fuel cards were authorized to only pay for fuel in city-owned vehicles. The audit stated that the fire department spent $654,849 on fuel in 2016-17.

Detroit Fire Department Chief Robert Distelrath said that the issues with the fuel cards had been addressed.

"Since the audit, DFD has reduced the number of fuel cards by nearly 300 and we now have a consistent policy and procedure for ensuring that cards are deactivated when an employee no longer needs them or their employment with DFD ends,” Distelrath said in an email. “We have formalized a policy that mandates a quarterly reconciliation with the General Services Department to have inactive or unauthorized employees removed. Division heads also monitor Monthly Departmental Fuel Usage Reports for any discrepancies."

Editor's note: The story was changed to state the fuel cards were assigned to people no longer on the active payroll.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.