Sarpy County, Neb., has implemented new fleet services department policies designed to prevent theft in the wake of theft of fuel by the County’s former fleet manager Patrick Clarke. According to Nebraska's WOWT Channel 6 news, Clarke was able to sign off on his own fuel purchases as he had acccess to bills from the County's fuel card program.

The new set of policies includes rules for purchasing parts, recommendations to create a written procedures document, and recommendations for additional controls for the County’s public works department’s fuel tanks.

To develop the new policies and procedures, the County contracted with HSMC Orizon LLC to conduct an independent analysis, according to County documents.

To start, the new set of procedures is designed to segregate job duties in the County’s fleet services department, for example separating purchasing from receiving. Someone other than the County’s fleet services manager and office administrator will receive items ordered. Next, whoever receives an item must review the order, verify it for “reasonableness,” and then have the office administrator compare and reconcile the purchase order with the receiving document.

The County also plans to develop a written process for orders (which will include an approved vendor list) and require bids from at least three vendors for items exceeding a cost of $300 (law enforcement vehicle purchases from an OEM are excluded), and prepare a procedures document that explains the controls the department is using.

For the County’s public works department, which maintains fuel tanks, the County plans to install an electronic fuel card system, measure each fuel tank with a dipstick to compare actual fuel on hand vs. the amount of fuel shown on monthly inventory statements, require fuel vendors to submit invoices immediately after filling the tanks, and assign fuel cards to tanks transported in County trucks.

Lastly, the County developed a “whistle blower” policy and plans to hold an annual training session on the policy for all employees.

Regarding the theft, the Sarpy County Attorney’s official account on social media network twitter reported on March 12, 2013 that its former fleet manager, Patrick Clarke, pleaded guilty to theft on March 11 and will pay restitution.

By Greg Basich