A Wyndham council employee was sacked for misusing a fuel card and purchasing more than $1000 in car wash vouchers, a report has revealed.
The termination was highlighted in a Victorian Auditor-General’s Office report into expenditure and processes involving senior council staff and councillors from four municipalities.
The office conducted an audit of Wyndham, Shepparton, Strathbogie and Wellington councils for the period between July, 2015, to July last year, but extended the testing period to February this year after some “anomalies” were detected.
While the audit did not find any fraud or corruption, it did identify some cases of expenditure where it was unclear how residents and ratepayers benefited; practices that might not meet public expectations; and non-compliance with legislative requirements.
The report found that between February 27 and November 30 last year, Wyndham council’s vehicle fleet co-ordinator identified a council employee who made 17 separate one-litre oil purchases using the same fuel card, totalling $303.49. According to the vehicle’s odometer reading, the vehicle should not have required any oil.
The fleet co-ordinator also identified that the same employee purchased car wash vouchers totalling $1074.15 between January 21, 2015, and November 3 last year without entering a car wash. The council was able to establish these instances by using GPS tracking.
After an internal investigation, the council terminated the staff member’s employment for misconduct.
In a separate finding, the report noted that the council’s chief executive officer approved their own expenses, on a council-issued credit card. However the report noted that in 2017, the council stopped the practice of the chief executive approving their own transactions.
The council’s chief executive Kelly Grigsby said that Wyndham was “pleased to be selected to take part in the VAGO audit”.
“It is extremely reassuring that there was no evidence of fraud or corruption found within the organisation,” she said.