Broward’s government watchdog, tasked to snuff out ethics violations, this year took an interest in learning more about Lauderhill’s use of taxpayer funds for discretionary and travel expenses, among other spending.
In a three-page letter, the Broward Office of the Inspector General sent a records request to Lauderhill City Hall asking for the backup documentation for the Sept. 27, 2021, commission meeting, including salaries, events, discretionary, and travel money for the elected officials.
The inspector general also asked for city commissioner’s spending records including city events, their travel expense accounts and discretionary accounts, dating back to October 2021. City Hall officials said the result was at least 5,000 pages of records.
The inspector’s office indicated it is unable to comment about the matter, telling the South Florida Sun Sentinel in an email that “the OIG can’t confirm the existence of any active investigation.” So it’s unclear if a review took place, and if so, whether it has concluded or continues.
The Office of Inspector General, more commonly known as the OIG, is the Broward office charged with rooting out public mismanagement. The position was created to be an independent sleuth well familiar with government issues.
In 2021, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that city commissioners voted to give themselves $30,000 of taxpayer dollars each going forward — more than seven times as much as before — to spend the money however they see fit, as long as it had to do with their public office. In addition to increasing those discretionary funds, commissioners also gave themselves $60,000 each to pay for city events.
That stayed in effect through the end of the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2022.
City commissioners ultimately reversed course with their spending allowances. Under the current spending plan, which started in September and goes through this September, commissioners receive $37,500 to spend on city events and another “special supplies” budget of $1,500 for discretionary funds, reduced from $30,000. Travel for each commissioner is $8,000.
Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @LisaHuriash