The Boston Redevelopment Authority’s compliance division, targeted in a recent audit that found the city failed to collect millions of dollars owed by developers, is largely run out of a single, gray cubicle on the ninth floor of City Hall.
The man in that chair is Aaron Hallquist, who spends several days a week combing through a crude database that lists hundreds of obligations by developers to pay for everything from tree plantings, to donations to civic groups, to road and sidewalk repairs.
There is no computer function to send him reminders when payments are due. His database is not connected to other city departments, whose actions often trigger those charges. There is not even a way of determining when money is paid — or if it arrives at all — unless a community group complains.
His task brings to mind a man trying to mow the lawn with a pair of dull scissors.
So when auditors swept through the agency in recent months, they found what was utterly predictable: Millions of dollars have either gone missing or are past due, and the BRA has no idea how much more could be lost.
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