NEWARK - The Office of the State Comptroller released a report today that found questionable spending in New Jersey's largest city.
In the report, Comptroller Matt Boxer identified more than $10 million in appropriations for Newark's Clerk and council offices in 2012, stating that was more than six times the budgeting for the same offices in similarly sized Jersey City.
The report singled out council president Mildred Crump for allegedly steering taxpayer money to charities she is involved in. She denied the accusation. "I have projects which I support," she says. "That is different from steering."
Among the appropriations identified in the report were annual allowances to cover expenses for the mayor and members of the council. The Comptroller's Office identified questionable expenses from the City Clerk and council budgets, including: payments totaling $11,500 for photography services for council members; $3,900 for hotel charges for a softball team visiting the city to compete in a tournament; and $2,875 for holiday decorations in the council chambers.
Newark business administrator Julien Neals says the council agreed to $1.2 million in cuts in last year's budget.
The report also found that the city overpaid various employees about $216,000 through supplemental payments. The audit found that the city made both calculation errors and payments to employees who were not eligible for them. Employees in job titles such as principal account clerk and data processing coordinator received clothing allowances that they were not entitled to under bargaining agreements.