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


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2002 Reports

Seattle City Light's Finance Division Reorganization
27 November 2002

This report assessed whether the work responsibilities of the employees in the newly reorganized Seattle City Light Accounts Payable and Procurement Unit were distributed in a manner that maintained internal controls, including an adequate segregation of duties. We determined that the new Accounts Payable and Procurement Unit established reasonable controls over its employees' use of City systems, and adequate segregation of duties. Although we identified opportunities for improvements, we did not identify major issues or internal control weaknesses.

Review of Seattle City Light
31 October 2002

This audit addresses financial management, risk management, governance and operational issues at Seattle City Light.
Errata Notice Review of Seattle City Light, October 31, 2002

Customer Credit Programs for the California Energy Commission
10 October 2002

We conducted this audit to assist Seattle City Light in verifying its compliance with the requirements of the California Energy Commission's Renewable Energy Customer Credit Program. Under this program, electrical service providers receive payments from the Commission for purchasing energy generated from renewable sources. Seattle City Light qualified for the program by supplying power from renewable sources to a Nordstrom, Inc., retail store located in California. We determined that Seattle City Light complied with the customer credit program requirements and properly credited Nordstrom. We also verified the City's receipt of the Commission's green power credit payments.

Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority Compliance Review
3 September 2002

We initiated this review as the fourth in a series on City-chartered public development authorities to ensure that the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDPDA) was in compliance with its responsibilities as a public corporation serving the International District community. Consistent with its charter and mission, we concluded that SCIDPDA significantly contributed to the economic, social, and cultural viability of Seattle's Chinatown International District. SCIDPDA also generally complied with the majority of requirements set forth in Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 3.110 and its internal policies and procedures.

On 11 September we issued a memorandum to SCIDPDA regarding the ambiguity of the language and terms in the Bond Payment Guaranty Agreement related to monthly Operating Reserve Account deposits.

AT&T Broadband and Internet Services' Compliance with the Cable Customer Bill of Rights
30 August 2002

In October 2001, the Office of City Auditor and the Office of Cable Communications initiated their second audit of video services for AT&T Broadband's compliance with the City's Cable Customer Bill of Rights, which is outlined in Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 21.60. the audit team reviewed areas of non-compliance identified during a 1999 audit, as well as additional elements of the Cable Customer Bill of Rights.

Administration of City Consultant Contracts
19 August 2002

We initiated the review of the City of Seattle's consultant contracting practices in response to a 2002 City Council Statement of Legislative Intent requesting that the Office of City Auditor determine whether City departments retained consultants for appropriate purposes and adhered to City consultant contracting policies and general rules.

Administration of Community Development Block Grant
11 June 2002

This review focused on the City's processes for allocating and administering Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, and the roles and responsibilities of the CDBG Administration Unit in providing financial and technical services to City departments and community-based agencies that receive CDBG funds. We determined that the allocation process was consistent with City policies, and that the CDBG Administration Unit's financial management and technical coordination services were generally consistent with federal and City requirements. However, we identified deficiencies and recommended improvements in the CDBG Administration Unit's monitoring and reporting practices to provide sufficient information for City decision-makers on the performance of CDBG-funded activities.

Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area Letter
6 June 2002

This report analyzed the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area's management of ratepayer accounts. We determined that the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area's assessments collection rate was very high, but issues were identified regarding assessment billing practices and billing error concerns. We collaborated with City Treasury officials to resolve the assessment and billing issues.

Mitigating the Effects of City Workforce Reduction
28 May 2002

The purpose of the Mitigating the Effects of a City Workforce Reduction study was to provide historical and current information on the City’s workforce, to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of the City’s 1996 Job Security Program, and to explore both traditional and unique benefits provided by public and private employers to employees who are at risk of layoff. We found that the City expanded its workforce and minimized layoffs from 1989 to 2002. We also determined that the Job Security Program successfully mitigated the effects of a 1997 workforce reduction, and that the City could offer cost-effective transition benefits to reduce the impact of currently anticipated layoffs.

Seattle City Light Teambuilding Memorandum
18 April 2002

This memorandum responded to a KIRO7 investigative report regarding two Seattle City Light teambuilding activities. We concluded that the City Light employees acted within the parameters of established City policies in their use of work time and timekeeping practices.

Parks & Recreation: Improving the Aquatics Program's Cash Handling Operations
09 April 2002

We performed follow up audit procedures on our 1997 report "Improving Accountability over Swimming Pools' Cash Handling". Since our 1997 report, Parks has made many improvements to cash handling policies, procedures and activities at the City’s swimming pools. Even though Parks has addressed most of the issues we raised in 1997, we believe there are opportunities for further improvements. We made recommendations related to cash receipts, swim lesson registrations, credit card payment processing, and we recommended that the pools adopt performance standards for their cashiers and managers.

Managing the Land Use Code Amendment Process
18 March 2002

Our primary objective was to determine whether the Department of Design, Construction and Land Use (DCLU) could produce high quality products in a more predictable and reasonable timeframe. We concluded that DCLU needs to:

  • continue enhancing its project management systems,
  • take the lead in establishing a more formal communication system among essential participants in the Land Use Code amendment process,
  • continue strengthening its internal management structure, and
  • continue designing and implementing staff training and support systems.

DCLU worked collaboratively with us in preparing the report and has made progress on implementing the recommendations.

Department of Parks and Recreation Athletic Field Scheduling Review
25 January 2002

This report reviews the athletic field scheduling function of the City of Seattle’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Parks schedules over 116,000 field events per year on 203 City and 115 Seattle School District athletic fields. This volume indicates that Parks’ athletic field use is at or near capacity during peak times, which will restrict future field scheduling expansion. We found that Parks could improve the efficiency of field scheduling practices by developing standard operating procedures and enhancing athletic field scheduling software. Overall, Parks consistently schedules athletic fields in compliance with established policies for the prioritization and assignment of fields. We noted a few policy improvements to enhance scheduling clarity and to resolve complaints more efficiently.