- Outside bank accounts closed
- County took personnel actions, instituted strict controls
- Participants received all services, trips they paid for
ARLINGTON, Va. — A popular Senior Travel Program run by Arlington County's Department of Parks and Recreation that had operated with little oversight has been restructured and brought under strict management of the County's Departments of Parks and Recreation and Management and Finance, according to Arlington County officials.
“The Senior Travel Program is a very successful program that unfortunately, cut corners in its operations,” said Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan. “We took this case very seriously. Although the police investigation found no criminal activity, we took a number of actions – including personnel actions – to ensure that this program has oversight, accountability and transparency in its operations.”
In November 2010, County officials determined that, contrary to County policy, the program was not using proper financial management practices and had been maintaining outside bank accounts that were not subject to County auditing and financial controls.
The County coordinated an investigation into the program's management and financial practices with the Arlington County Police Department and Commonwealth's Attorney. The investigation included a review by external auditors. It was determined that no program participant lost any money. In every instance, participants received the services that they paid for.
In May 2012, ACPD and the Commonwealth's Attorney determined that there was no criminal activity or intent in the operating of the accounts or the program. The County then conducted an administrative investigation and held staff accountable for failing to follow County practices; this included a number of personnel actions that were only recently completed.
Senior Travel Program reforms
The County has put in place strict procedures for managing the Senior Travel program. The Departments of Parks and Management and Finance have instituted oversight, accountability and transparency in the program's operations.
Many County departments have worked to solve the problem, including County Manager's Office, Dept. of Parks, Dept. of Management and Finance, and the Police Department. In addition, County Treasurer, County Attorney's Office and Commonwealth Attorney have been involved.
Senior Travel trips unaffected
The investigation determined that all program participants received all the trips and services that they paid for. Program participants consistently expressed high levels of satisfaction with program. Senior Travel continues to offer a variety of opportunities for high-quality, low-cost travel for the 55-plus age group.