September 19, 2012
Focus: At City Councilmember Nick Licata’s request, the Office of City Auditor conducted a performance audit of the rental portion of the Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) Program, which is managed by the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing.
Results: We found that the City of Seattle could improve its efforts to meet the goals stated in the MFTE ordinances that established and reauthorized the program. In addition, we offer recommendations for improving program compliance, administration and oversight.
Focus: Seattle City Councilmember Jean Godden requested this audit because of an alleged theft of over $1 million of water main extensions funds by a former Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) employee. Our office evaluated internal controls over SPU’s developer-installed water main extension projects, focusing on financial controls. We also reviewed water main extension project files to identify whether there were any lost revenues, other than those already identified by the City. Water main extension projects occur when developers are required to install a water main to serve new construction or for a site improvement project. SPU oversees the water main project and charges a fee for its services.
Results: We concluded the two primary internal control weaknesses that allowed the alleged theft to occur were a lack of proper segregation of duties and a lack of adequate management oversight of financial transactions. Recently, SPU has strengthened its policies and procedures and improved the internal controls over water main extension financial transactions. These changes should significantly reduce the risk of a similar loss of funds occurring again. However, we concluded that several control improvements are still needed. We conducted an extensive review of water main extension project files and payment transactions and we did not find evidence that additional funds were stolen, beyond those already identified by the City.
We have discussed each issue with SPU management and they have committed to taking corrective action on the findings in our audit report. We will follow up regularly on SPU's progress with implementing these corrective actions.
September 6, 2012
Focus: This non-audit project is a follow-up to a May 2011 inventory of crime prevention programs performed by the City Budget Office. The project consisted of 1) a review of research literature related to crime prevention program conducted by George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy (CEBCP), and 2) our office’s summary of the CEBCP review.
Results: The CEBCP report matches City of Seattle crime prevention programs with specific types of research. We hope that it will be a useful resource in a conversation about how the City might better integrate its crime prevention work with the research evidence about what is known to be effective.
June 20, 2012
Focus: To provide information on the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) in-car video program, including the number of requests for videos submitted to SPD, the percentage of public requests SPD is able to fulfill, the number of recordings regularly made by SPD, and to identify opportunities to improve the program’s operations.
Results: Our office analyzed requests for in-car video recordings submitted to SPD in April, May, and June of 2011 and found the following:
January 10, 2012
Focus: To evaluate the Seattle Police Department's Crime Analysis Function.
Results: Our findings indicate that the Seattle Police Department is in a good position to take its crime analysis function "to the next level" – i.e., to improve the sophistication and maximize the benefits of its crime analysis. We offer four recommendations to this end: