Petersburg treasurer’s office under fire for stacks of unprocessed checks

PETERSBURG, Va (WRIC) — The treasurer for the City of Petersburg is under fire by the Robert Bobb Group for not doing his job.

The Robert Bobb Group is a consultant group charged with turning the City of Petersburg around. In light of Petersburg’s financial crisis, the head of the city’s turnaround group, Robert Bobb, says stacks of mail-in checks in Kevin Brown’s office are inexcusable.

8News spoke with Brown Tuesday about the claims. He told 8News he understands the City of Petersburg is in a financial crisis, and his office is doing the best they can to open mail and make deposits.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, there were currently three trays of payments to the City of Petersburg resting on a counter in the Treasurer’s Office.

“The issue is, we have so many people in City Hall, we don’t have time to do the processing of city mail,” Brown said.

 

The line of people walking in with cash payments and other issues on Tuesday was wrapped around City Hall. The City of Petersburg is strapped for cash and trying to pay down $18 million of debt.

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Petersburg’s turnaround consultants say a $2M dollar debt service bill is due Wednesday.

“I sent the treasurer a letter on December 12, 2016 with very pointed comments to do whatever is required of your office to process checks and to get the money in the back on the day that the checks are presented,” Bobb explained.

Brown says he does not have adequate staff to process the mail on a daily basis.

“We have to get approval from the city to do overtime,” Brown said. “It is not like we can say we are going to do overtime. We have to get approval.”

Brown said he didn’t ask for more staff or overtime pay because he was trying to save the city money.

He added that new lockbox system will be in place in April, or no later than May. He expects the new system will fix the problems as a bank will be in charge of processing payments made to the city.

“To make the office more efficient, that should not have been an issue that was pursued during a period of time that we are here,” Bobb said. “It should have been pursued much earlier.”

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City staff said they have processed enough payments to the city to make the $2M debt service payment Wednesday.

The interim city manager authorized two people from the finance department Tuesday to help process the mail.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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