By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia city departments need to do a better job of policing petty cash funds and employee vacation, sick leave and overtime. Those are among the findings of the city controller’s annual audit. But he finds the petty cash problem particularly risky.

The city budgets $1.5-million dollars a year for petty cash funds in all city departments. City controller Alan Butkovitz says they have a very specific purpose.

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“If you need to pay $10  or $15 for a new key or something that suddenly came up,” the city controller said.

But Butkovitz says he found the problem in more than half of all city departments, but the one he found most egregious was in the Office of Fleet Management, where employees used petty cash to pay a $2,000 bill from EZ Pass for bridge and highway tolls by splitting it into four payments to get around the $500 limit on petty cash expenses.

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“Rules are set up for a reason. When those things are not watched carefully, they always end up being abused,” he said. “When nobody is looking at the cash register, nobody is looking at petty cash, it is a neon sign asking people to take money.”

Butkovitz did not find any evidence of that, but he suggests better training to curb abuses. He’s asking the finance director to hold training workshops for all departments.

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The audit was for fiscal year 2015, the final year of the Nutter administration. It’s not the first time Butkovitz has found the problem and he notes some departments have taken corrective action.