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Philly creates task force to oversee reconciliation of accounts after city misplaced $33 million

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced that a task force will oversee the reconciliation of the city's cash accounts after $33.3 million went missing. (Image source: Video screenshot)

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced the creation of a task force to oversee the reconciliation of the city's cash accounts after $33.3 million went missing, WPHT-TV reported.

Kenney's announcement came with a promise to correct the problem involving the handling of taxpayer monies.

“I take these unreconciled bank accounts seriously,” Kenney told the news outlet. “I am not greeting this with nonchalance or apathy. The staff of the Finance Department and the Treasurer’s Office are approaching it with appropriate urgency. With the coordinated approach of this Task Force, I vow that we will fix these things, and fix them soon. Taxpayers deserve no less.”

The mayor, who first learned of the missing cash after he took office in January 2016, hopes to know by December where the millions of unaccounted for dollars have gone.

What happened?

In April, City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, who called the lost money "unacceptable," demanded that the city’s Finance and Treasury Department take responsibility to find $33.3 million in missing cash.

The city enlisted the help of an outside accounting firm to help track down the money at the cost of $500,000. Last month, it had managed to locate $5.8 million.

The city's previous controller had noticed a problem with the unreconciled accounts as early as 2014.

Who's on the task force?

Members of the task force include representatives from city agencies and outside consultants.

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, city council, and the Office of the Inspector General will work to establish better processes for account controls, as well as reporting on its progress to the public.

"There's going to be transparency," former City Controller Jonathan Saidel told WPHT. "It [the reports] will be on the mayor's website."

The task force will meet every two weeks, said Saidel, who is one of the task force's co-chairpersons.

“I learned from my tenure as controller that having all the stakeholders at the table is the best way to achieve a speedy and true resolution,” Saidel said. “This Task Force demonstrates the urgency that this Administration places on the matter, and I’m proud to take part.”

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