The theft of $430,000 by an employee of the parks department in the city of Bloomington is certainly troubling, and it is important that this person should be punished to the fullest extent of the law if she is convicted by a jury of her peers. But that is not the real scandal here.
Why were there not sufficient financial controls in place to prevent the theft of several hundred thousand dollars? That is the real question here, and that’s the real scandal. Why were there not several sets of eyes on the parks department finances to ensure that all of the money is accounted for and is going to the right place? How was this person able to get away with stealing for four years before she was caught?
We know from Romans 3:10-18 that human beings are inherently corrupt, so the fact that people will steal money or property is not a surprise. No matter how exemplary someone’s history or character might be, there will always be temptation to steal, especially when one is responsible for large sums of money. That is why any organization should have procedures in place to verify where money is and how it is spent.
Even worse, this story follows the arrest and criminal prosecution of another Bloomington city government employee in another department who stole over $800,000 from the city over several years. With over $1,200,000 in taxpayers’ money stolen by just two city employees, the people of Bloomington should be very worried over what are obviously very sloppy accounting practices in city government.
This year is an election year, with four candidates (three Democrats and a Republican) seeking their respective parties’ nomination for Mayor. All four of them should commit to full and complete financial transparency, instead of the shamefully secretive nature of the Kruzan administration following the first scandal. All four should commit to a top-to-bottom review of the city’s financial procedures to ensure that crimes like this do not happen again. The taxpayers deserve no less.