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Published: Monday, 8/25/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Olander Parks to employ safeguards

Guarding against internal theft becomes a priority

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The Olander Park System greenhouse in Sylvania is seen here in June. In response to an alleged embezzlement case, the Olander Park System plans to establish formal procedures to safeguard against internal theft. The Olander Park System greenhouse in Sylvania is seen here in June. In response to an alleged embezzlement case, the Olander Park System plans to establish formal procedures to safeguard against internal theft.
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In response to an alleged embezzlement case, the Olander Park System plans to establish formal procedures to safeguard against internal theft.

“You cannot ever stop theft. You can catch it easier, and you can put safeguards in making sure things are locked up. We are tightening up our procedures for our cash drawer, taking money in at the swim area and the gate,” park commissioner John Zeitler said.

Last fall park officials asked the auditor of state’s office to examine its accounting and procedures after accusations former park director Gary Madrzykowski had taken park funds from petty cash and wrote himself a check for $2,500.

Mr. Madrzykowski has pleaded not guilty to the accusation that he stole $4,412 in park funds between March 31, 2011, and July 23, 2013. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Cash drawers at the gate, swim, and for other park services will be counted twice a day, in the morning and before the park closes, to balance out receipts.

New Olander Director Erika Buri said most of the safeguards had already been practiced, but they now will be formally adopted by the park system’s three commissioners.

Petty cash drawers will not exceed $500, with one drawer limited to $200 for incidental expenses and the second, with $300, to be used as change at cash-collection points. Records will be kept to ensure the locked drawer is always in balance.

The operational procedures specify who has access to the drawers and that money used with the intent to purchase incidentals must be returned as soon as possible, and in any case within 48 hours, if no purchase was made.

Olander Park has also formalized a system requiring staff to research and obtain price quotes for larger purchases, such as equipment or machinery, so as to “ensure the cost-effective, legal, and timely procurement of necessary materials, supplies, equipment, and services.”

Authorized staff members are to receive approval through a purchase-order request for items exceeding $500.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.



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