Hearne: Funkhouser Fingers Zoo for Past Illicit Cash Stash

Talk about boo at the zoo…

When it comes to potential taxpayer ripoffs, the sky’s the limit in Kansas City – at least at the zoo. Or so it would seem based on an example cited by former Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser in a recent story written in his current gig as director of The Governing Institute.

“Back in 1996, while I was city auditor of Kansas City, we undertook an audit of cash control that discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars stuffed in trash bags at the zoo,” Funk begins. “That was only the worst of what we found at the dozens of different locations throughout the city that collected cash.”

Long story short, while Funk and the city were not able to finger anybody for a ripoff, the fact remains that ” The people who collect the cash in most governments are often lower-level employees, with virtually no training and little direct supervision, working in diverse locations (and) theft can occur without a paper trail to show what happened and with no one being the wiser,” Funk concludes.

Funk’s bottom line for other cities to ponder, based on his experience in KC:

“There’s no doubt that plenty of government cash is being stolen.”

All of which being said, there is a possible solution, Funkhouser writes.

The Association of Public Treaurers of the United States and Canada has come up with a program to train employees who handle cash.

Unfortunately it only works with “honest” employees.

“Training in cash handling will not prevent a dishonest person from taking money,” Funk says.

Funk’s advice to mayors, city managers, zookeepers and the like: Sign up for the APT course and “spare themselves the embarrassment of watching a trusted employee doing a perp walk on the evening news.”

Kansas City Zoo head dude Randy Wisthoff could not be reached for this column.




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8 Responses to Hearne: Funkhouser Fingers Zoo for Past Illicit Cash Stash

  1. Rick Nichols says:

    Just More “Monkey Business” at Your Friendly Local Zoo

    “Well, yes, sir, I’d just love to take out the trash …
    (After all, that’s where I’ve stuffed all the cash) …
    You know, sir, I really love my job here at the zoo –
    Why, I’ll probably be a millionaire before I’m through!”

  2. the dude says:

    Man, I sure do long for the carefree days when Lurch was mayor.

    • mike says:

      He was a bad Mayor overall due to his lack of ability to be a leader and work with the City Council. He was good in his previous job as a bean counter, however.

      • the dude says:

        Well at least he was not an outright bully crook like the current empty suit currently occupying office.

  3. gerald bostock says:

    Mark, why the long face?

  4. Orphan of the Road says:

    Politics has always been the art of the circus if it was run from the monkey cage.

  5. balbonis moleskine says:

    *reads first part of headline*

    And the elephants LOVED it!

  6. the dude says:

    Look, anytime you have cash transactions money will be skimmed. Ask any bar in town about this.

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