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CATS employees suspended, vanishing farebox money resolved

CATS employees suspended, vanishing farebox money resolved

BATON ROUGE - At least three CATS employees were suspended without pay for taking advantage of company cars.

"We've had three administrative employees on an unpaid vacation, either a one day or three days," CATS Interim CEO Bob Mirabito said.

The unpaid vacations stem from tracking devices recently placed on CATS non-revenue vehicles.

In one instance, an employee was tracked speeding 27 miles per hour over the limit. A separate employee was also suspended for spending an hour at Wal-mart on while on the clock, then came to work briefly, left and went home.

"As those instances arise, we're going to address them," Mirabito said. He admits there was little to no accountability at CATS before his tenure.

In addition to changes in accountability, a three-and-a-half year mess that's led to more than a $101,000 going missing from fareboxes is getting important attention.

"The fixes that we've put in I hope we won't ever have that problem again," Mirabito said.

He's put more cameras in the room where money from buses is collected, a new system to log who enters that collection room and ordered broken fareboxes on-board the buses be fixed to stop the drain.

"We're actually $400 to the positive," he said.

In April, CATS collected ten percent less than what the fareboxes recorded. In May, the difference was 7.5 percent less by June, it was 8.1 percent less.
But last month, the amount collected was point .4 percent in the positive.

"I think six months is going to tell the tale," Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso said. Amoroso likes the direction the company is going, but he wants to know what happened to the money CATS still can't account for.

"I hope they do a diligent investigation if the money is being stolen then someone needs to go to jail," Amoroso said.

Mirabito turned over all documents into that missing money to Baton Rouge Police.

Baton Rouge Police Department is involved in an ongoing investigation with the Inspector General and the Legislative Auditor to find out if that missing farebox money was stolen and who, if anyone, is responsible.

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