Audit Topics

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Audit Topics

Postby Alison Alter » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:26 pm

Dear Colleagues,

At last week’s Audit and Finance Committee meeting I shared with the committee a handful of audit topics that I hope make the list for the FY18 Audit Plan. I am posting them here so that you also may have access to them. For your context, each item on my list was identified as a potential audit project in a communication from the Office of the Auditor dated 8/21/17. As per the Mayor’s comments during the committee meeting, this handful of topics is unique; by their nature they have a dimension of systemic impact. I firmly believe that having the Auditor examine these topics would better position us toward systemic policy making in line with our strategic planning process. I appreciate your attention to these as we finalize our list of projects for the Auditor at our October 12th meeting.

· Traffic Enforcement- including an investigation of enforcement levels and their tie to the Municipal Court's budget and any potential general fund savings
· Vacancy Management –with a focus on the five departments topping the list of volume of vacancies, excluding the Austin Public Library Department
· Human Resources Governance
· Overtime Pay
· Public Safety- various possible topics
· The Budget Process- with a dual focus on management and gathering best practices from other cities as it pertains to both management and councils. This could be broken up into special request and audit pieces if appropriate.

In order to accommodate the inclusion of the above items, we discussed the possibility of putting off the review of the lobbyist ordinance (Ordinance #20160922-005) until it has been in place for a longer increment (such as a full year). Multiple committee members brought up the permitting process topic as another possible topic to delay. The auditor also identified the utilization of city owned property and the down payment assistance program as two audit topics that could be delayed.

For your convenience, I am also including here the Auditor’s current proposed list of projects, the list of audits completed back to 2013 and a description of the auditor’s planning process. These were provided by the Auditor via email on October 3rd per request at the committee meeting last week.

Regarding body of audits completed back to 2013, I wanted to offer a few observations:

· The 2015 Special Request on Program and Department Budget Review Processes focused on methods used by other cities for department and program review, a sunset approach, as opposed to the actual budget process used by other cities and councils. The latter is the missing component an audit project on the 2018 plan could examine.
· Only 11 audits/special requests, that is 11% of the total (99), have been focused on public safety (Police=5, Fire=2, and EMS=3, Fire and Police=1). Based on the fiscal impact of these departments on our full budget, further focus may be necessary.
· Vacancies have not been examined since prior to 2013. The Auditor recommends that topics examined back five years or more be taken up as new audits instead of as follow up audit reports on past projects.
· Likewise, aside from the recent project on the Fire Department, overtime pay has not been examined in a full audit since 2004 and in a special request since 2011, yet in budget briefings this year it has been highlighted by our Human Resources leadership as a challenge for several departments in tandem with vacancy management. As per HR, this is a result of systemic changes in our workforce and shifting regional compensation environment. An Audit project on this matter could help us deal with this complexity.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter.

Alison Alter

Proposed FY18 Audit Plan:

Audit Planning Process: ... nVDMGZfOGc

Audits by Department: ... 0ZGQ05MRHc
Council Member, District 10
Alison Alter
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:52 pm

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