CHICAGO (WBBM/STMW) — An audit by Chicago’s Inspector General suggests the agency that runs the City’s 9-1-1 center has wasted money and lost track of electronics equipment.

We get the details from WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore:

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Craig Dellimore Reports

Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s office says Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications tried to get around hiring and spending restrictions…and may have cost taxpayers more money in the process.

An audit of 2009 purchases shows OEMC skirted some purchasing requirements by manipulating the vouchers it filed. And, a report shows officials there skirted hiring limits by bringing on some employees as even more costly consultants.

For example, the audit shows seven technical consultants were brought on—and treated as employees—at a cost of more than a million dollars. If they’d been hired as City workers it would have cost almost half as much…but the City wasn’t hiring.

Another finding shows some 19 thousand dollars in electronic equipment is unaccounted for. The reports says internal controls were not enough to prevent waste and misconduct.

OEMC officials say they cooperated with the audit and take the findings seriously. But, they note that they have already implemented some of the recommendations and have conducted their own reviews.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars were wasted, employees were placed on hidden payrolls and notebook computers went missing at the city department that oversees the city 911 center, according to an audit released today by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson.

All of those issues occurred because “internal controls were not adequate to prevent waste and misconduct,” according to the audit of the Office of Emergency Management and Communication, which also oversees the city’s 311 call center.

The audit alleges a series of costly errors, saying some have been addressed while others still need attention.

© Sun-Times Media Wire and WBBM contributed to this report

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