Eyewitness News uncovers taxpayer money wasted by Parks Department
Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Jack White has discovered a city owned car has been used for years by the chief of the park rangers who is not a city employee.
And we've also learned another official collected thousand of dollars in questionable car allowance payments.
The use of the city car and the questionable car allowance both involve parks department superintendent Nancy Derrig.
She recently stepped down while the police investigate an unrelated embezzlement allegation against one of her subordinates.
" I certainly am upset ...."
Park ranger Chief Joseph Gleckman is angry that anyone questions his use of a city car despite the fact that he is not a city employee.
He's employed by the Zoological Society which runs the zoo at Roger Williams Park for the city.
Gleckman supervises 15 park rangers, who are city employees.
City councilman Ronald Allen has a problem with Gleckman overseeing city workers and using the car, which Allen says is in violation of city regulations and makes the city vulnerable in the event of an accident.
"We have to be cognizant of what our liability is, what the city's liability is. I think it puts us in harm's way."
The car is a Ford Taurus, which Allen says did not have the Parks Department emblem until about a year ago.
"I've been employed here for five years and I was granted permission by the former superintendent as of my job that's why, I take it home because I come back frequently and supervise the men."
Gleckman produced a year old memo from Parks Department Superintendent Nancy Derrig granting him permission to use the city car.
But there are questions about her right to do that- and about Derrig's use of two vehicles.
She is one of the highest paid employees of the city, earning $101,000 a year, but she gets a free car from the zoological society.
"There might even be another scenario to this problem. She might have been receiving a car allowance from the city."
Eyewitness news has learned Derrig did receive a city car allowance of $225 a month for 28 months- for a total $6,300.
She received the money while getting a free car - a Saab for which the zoological society paid the $485 monthly lease payments.
Zoological society executive director Jack Mulvena says this past January Derrig got as new car , a Volvo - for which the Zoological Society made monthly payments of $454.
In May, the Cicilline administration began a Parks Department audit and Mulvena says Derrig decided to reimburse the Zoological Society $4,258 for the lease of the Volvo.
She did not reimburse for use of the Saab.
Derrig declined comment when we went to her home.
But in a later phone conversation she said the Zoological Society had the right to give her a car and she had the right to take it.
She also said she saw nothing wrong with collecting $63-hundred dollars in car allowance payments from the city at the same time.
The city stopped paying her car allowance last month.