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Achieving Honesty, Efficient Management and Full Accountability Throughout City Government Susan Cohen, City Auditor


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1995 Reports

Performance Perspective - Handling Cash
December 29, 1995
This newsletter emphasizes the importance of good cash-handling procedures and provides a checklist to help Departments review their cash handling procedures. You can also download the Office of City Auditor Cash-Handling Self-Assessment Questionnaire (31 KB) in Microsoft Word format.

Animal Control
20 November 1995

Our review of Animal Control included an evaluation of its internal controls and considered the unitís workload and budget. We recommended that Animal Control implement a comprehensive financial control system, and reconsider the cost-effectiveness of two additional officers added in the 1994 budget. Animal Control could also benefit from a managed competition review in light of its decreasing workload and rising budget.

Department of Finance Taking Steps to Improve Internal Controls Over City-wide Travel Expenditures
24 October 1995

This report evaluated the Cityís travel policies and practices to determine whether adequate controls were established to prevent unauthorized travel expense reimbursements, and to determine the role of the Department of Finance in monitoring travel practices. We also examined City departmentsí authorization and payment of travel expenses to identify potential process improvements. We found that the Department of Finance could take additional steps to fulfill oversight responsibilities outlined in the Seattle Municipal Code, and should consider options for streamlining the authorization, accounting, and reporting of travel and training expenditures.

Management Improvement at Freeway Park Garage
24 October 1995

Our review of Freeway Park Garage management determined that the garage had not established adequate accountability systems. The Department of Administrative Services could design and implement a comprehensive management accountability system over the Freeway Park Garageís cash-receipting process to ensure that cash receipts are properly recorded, and that cash is appropriately safeguarded and deposited. We recommended that the Department of Administrative Services increase its management oversight of the garage operations; revise its policies and procedures; and perform unannounced cash counts.

Seattle Center Improving Procedures to Ensure Tenants Are Reporting All Revenues and to Ensure Consistency of Contracts
05 October 1995

We conducted this review to evaluate Seattle Centerís oversight of Center House tenant rent payments. Our staff worked with personnel from Seattle Center to identify ways to improve procedures to ensure that tenants report all revenue and correctly calculate rents due. Seattle Center should also continue to standardize its contracts to increase consistency among tenant rental terms.

Eligibility for Public Defense Management Letter
21 August 1995

We analyzed the process for determining a defendantís eligibility to receive public defense services. Our review of the eligibility determination process found that the King County Office of Public Defense used experienced screeners for initial eligibility screenings, but could improve the eligibility determination process by securing more comprehensive documentation for its initial screenings.

City-wide Collection of Accounts Receivable
May 17, 1995

This report evaluated the Cityís collection of accounts receivable. We found that the Cityís accounting and financial management systems generally did not provide sufficient information to effectively manage its accounts receivable. In addition, City departments did not consistently use interest or late fees to encourage timely payment. The Department of Finance could also provide more guidance to departments in the collection of accounts receivable.

Contracting for Court Services 
18 April, 1995

We reviewed the potential savings and benefits from merging the Seattle Municipal Court and the Seattle Division of the King County District Court. We found that potential savings would be dependent upon negotiated fees for court services. We recommended that the City also consider the full transition costs, as well as policy implications and other potential impacts.

Making Effective Use of Managed Competition
11 January, 1995

We evaluated the Cityís use of managed competition to provide select City services, and determined that City departments could use managed competition more extensively. City departments only compared in-house and external costs for 23 of the 67 services we identified as suitable candidates for managed competition. The City could improve its managed competition program by: 1) establishing procedures to ensure a thorough analysis of relevant costs and benefits; 2) developing appropriate internal controls over the managed competition process; 3) considering legal requirements early in the process; 4) promoting awareness of non-financial issues; and 5) enhancing labor-management cooperation.