Council hits brakes over staff taxi costs
Porirua council staff will be told to put the brakes on travel costs after an audit found almost $1500 went on taxi rides in Porirua and Wellington over the past year.
Porirua City Council staff are supposed to use pool cars or public transport except when travelling to Wellington Airport, but an internal audit on sensitive expenditures presented to the council’s audit and risk committee last month found $1434 was spent on taxi trips within Wellington and Porirua between July 2016 and April 2017.
That amount was part of a total of $6624 spent on taxis.
Porirua City Council general manager of people and capability Jerry Wrenn said the council expected its staff to use the ‘‘most effective’’ mode of transport when travelling on business.
‘‘Overall, taxi use is not excessive,’’ Wrenn said.
‘‘However, there have been a number of instances where staff taxi use was outside our policy and these appear to be a combination of availability of pool cars during peak loading, one-off emergencies and misunder- standings on what is acceptable taxi use.
‘‘[The] council will be reviewing its documentation to make sure it’s clear, and will be reminding staff of their obligations.’’
Taxi use would continue to be monitored to check for compliance, Wrenn said.
‘‘Instances were noted where taxis, including Uber, have been used for business trips to and from Wellington and locally around Porirua,’’ the report said.
The risks of this were not only to costeffectiveness but to the council’s reputation, it said.
A council spokeswoman said the council owned 15 pool cars, including Prius hatchbacks, station wagons, a Hyundai IXE5, Ford Focus SW and two Ford transits.
On the whole, expenditure was in accordance with policy, related to council business and appeared reasonable and appropriate. For example, the majority of air travel related to staff attending training courses and conferences.
There was also awareness of the purchase card policy, and the standards required of council staff.
Where personal costs were incurred on a council purchase card in error, the costs were highlighted by the cardholder prior to the statement being approved, and repaid to the council.
Porirua City Council says it will be ‘‘reminding staff of their obligations’’ on taxi use, and will continue to monitor spending.