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

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Audit Reports:

1999 Reports

Management Review of the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority
08 December 1999

This compliance review focused on whether the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) reasonably accomplished its charter mandates. We concluded that the PDA accomplished its charter mandates, and its commercial lease policies and practices were consistent with the charter. However, we found the PDA could have allowed more time for public discussion and education when it proposed changes in 1998 to increase the availability of fresh local produce at the Market, and suggested ways to improve communications between the PDA and Market tenants.

Department of Design, Construction, and Land Use: Tracking Financial Management Improvements, January 1, 1997 through September 30, 1999
09 November 1999

This review evaluated improvements implemented to the Department of Design, Construction and Land Use’s financial management systems in response to a 1995 study and City Council resolution. We concluded that the improvements were effective, and offered further recommendations to strengthen the Department’s financial management systems.

Seattle Public Library Capital Program: Quality Assurance Review Memorandum #1
12 October 1999

This report was the first in a series of quality assurance reviews to evaluate the Libraries for All Capital Program. Based on our review of project files, budgets, and schedules, we recommended that the Central Library improve its document control system, establish written policies and procedures for contract management, and explore ways to simplify its integrated master schedule, program cost estimate, and budget.

Executive's Recommendations to Limit Bonuses
29 September 1999

The Office of City Auditor reviewed the Executive's recommendation to limit the variable pay portion (popularly referred to as "bonus" pay) of the City's APEX/SAM program to 30 to 40 percent of eligible City employees.

City of Seattle: Citizen Participation Processes
27 September 1999

This report summarized our evaluation of the City’s citizen participation practices for neighborhood budgeting and neighborhood planning. We concluded that these programs were effective in accomplishing City and neighborhood objectives, but demanded significant resources and time from City staff and neighborhood residents. We recommended improvements to minimize the proliferation of new neighborhood groups and competing demands for City resources while promoting reasonable expectations for citizen involvement.

Improving Seattle Center's Management of the Monorail Contract
13 September 1999

Seattle’s downtown monorail system, constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair, was operated under a private contract with Seattle Monorail Services. Our objective was to determine whether Seattle Monorail Services complied with the City contract in the high-risk areas of maintenance and ticketing as well as the City’s administration of its contract with Seattle Monorail Services. We found that Seattle Monorail Services needed to continue improving its maintenance and inventory tracking systems and ticketing program. We recommended that the City improve its oversight of the monorail contract and monitor the contractor’s progress in addressing the high-risk issues identified.

Performance Perspective - Effective Public Private Partnerships
September 1999

Public-private partnerships are arrangements between government and the private sector in which the public partner pays, reimburses, or transfers a public asset to a private partner in return for goods or services. They are a good way to accomplish certain types of projects, but governments should exercise safeguards to protect the interests of citizens.

Historic Seattle PDA's Management of the Good Shepherd Center
20 August 1999

This review of the Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority’s operation of the Good Shepherd Center was the first in a series of compliance evaluations of the City’s public corporations. We found that Historic Seattle was in compliance with its City charter and City policies, and appropriately managed the Good Shepherd Center.

Seattle City Light Skagit Project: Skagit General Store Financial Performance Audit
12 August 1999

This financial audit was conducted to assess the internal controls and financial performance of Seattle City Light’s Skagit General Store. We concluded that the General Store’s internal controls for cash handling and inventory practices were inadequate, and that its financial performance was below industry standards. We recommended that Seattle City Light consider contracting for professional financial management services.

Seattle Center Improving Cash Handling Procedures
10 August 1999

Seattle Center's Transportation Services Office (TSO) operates all of the Center's City-owned parking facilities, generating revenues of over $4 million annually. We conducted a surprise visit in August 1998 and recommended changes. This report describes the TSO action plan and improvements made as of July 1999, when we revisited the premises.

Management Review of the City of Seattle's Deferred Compensation Plan Program
20 July 1999

Our review focused on whether the Deferred Compensation Plan Program was operated efficiently and effectively, and in compliance with laws and regulations. We concluded that the program was efficiently and effectively managed, but identified the need for improvements. We recommended that management ensure that all participant costs be disclosed, that premature withdrawals for “hardship” circumstances be thoroughly documented, and that financial records be reconciled in a timely manner.

Management Review of the City of Seattle's Pension Systems
16 July 1999

We retained Miller and Miller Consulting Services, P.S., to review the City’s police, fire, and general employee pension systems, and evaluate the City’s internal control structures and management policies and procedures. Miller and Miller determined that the internal control structures and policies and procedures were adequate, but recommended that City management increase the use of technology and consider consolidating the administrative functions for the three pension systems.

Review of Rehabilitation and Emergency Assistance for City Homeowners (REACH) Program
13 July 1999

The purpose of this review was to assess the REACH Program’s financial practices. We reconciled the loan financial records to the accounting system, determined the year-end 1998 fund position, reviewed program’s costs, and assessed security on outstanding loans. We recommended improvements to the REACH Program’s internal controls and management reporting.

Seattle City Light Skagit Project: Commute Trip Reduction Program
06 May 1999

We performed a review of Seattle City Light’s Commute Trip Reduction Program for the Skagit Project to determine whether the program complied with the City’s Commute Trip Reduction Program Ordinance. In addition, we reviewed the reasonableness of a proposed fee increase, and potential alternatives to meet current Skagit employees’ transportation needs. We concluded that the operation of the City-owned van increased program costs and exposed the City to unnecessary liability, and recommended that City Light discontinue the van service.