National Park Service officials do not have in place a sound process for reviewing how funds donated to park cooperating agencies across the country are managed and spent, according to the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General.
That conclusion was reached as the OIG's staff looked into allegations of embezzlement at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia. The problem at the historic site arose after the park superintendent gave an employee "full responsibility for managing donated funds at the park and did not oversee how he managed and expended them."
"The absence of oversight," the resulting OIG report went on, "allowed the coordinator to embezzle the donated funds without detection. We also found that NPS does not have a policy requiring a regional review or audit of the records of park cooperating association coordinators to ensure that donated funds are accounted for and expended properly."
During the course of the investigation the OIG staff discovered that "(T)his absence of oversight permitted the employee to embezzle the donated funds and convert them to his own personal use without detection. He also failed to maintain receipts and basic documentation detailing how he spent association funds at the park. When interviewed, the employee explained that embezzling the funds was easy for him because (the historic site) had no intemal controls in place.
"... We believe that the absence of an NPS policy requiring regional review and oversight of donated funds may indicate a systemic problem within NPS."