2015 Reports

Each report entry contains a summary of report focus and results, a full report document and a report highlights document.

Click the report titles to expand and contract this information for each title.

December 10, 2015

Department of Parks and Recreation's Oversight of Lease and Concession Agreements

Focus: Seattle City Councilmember Jean Godden asked us to review the Department of Parks and Recreation's (Parks) oversight of its lease and concession agreements. Specifically, we were asked to review whether Parks is collecting the money and public benefits they are supposed to receive under current contracts, and has proper control for the handling of lease and concession revenues.

Results: We found that all rental payments in our sample were deposited with the City and recorded in the City's accounting system. However, we also identified gaps in internal controls in two major areas: cash handling and contract monitoring. We offer seven recommendations to address these gaps. Additionally, we raise two issues for Parks' consideration related to:  1) tracking revenues and costs and 2) updating its concession contracts and use permits policies and procedures.

October 14, 2015

The City of Seattle Could Reduce Violent Crime and Victimization by Strengthening Its Approach to Street Outreach

Focus:  The Seattle City Council requested that we evaluate the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative's Street Outreach component.

Results:  Street Outreach has the potential to be a valuable component of a comprehensive violence reduction strategy for Seattle. However, research indicates that Street Outreach can be ineffective and may even cause harm when it is not deployed strategically and when it lacks certain key considerations. We offer six recommendations to the City for strengthening its approach to Street Outreach.

October 14, 2015

Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative: Two Key Conclusions

Focus:  In 2013, the Seattle City Council asked our office to develop an overall evaluation plan for the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) and to evaluate two of its components. 

Results:   This paper briefly summarizes two key conclusions from the four reports on SYVPI that we have published since 2013:
1. Changing adult-run systems can yield positive results for youth, and
2. Support from City leaders can help ensure that SYVPI-related efforts are focused and effective.

October 14, 2015

Process Evaluation of Seattle's School Emphasis Officer Program

Focus: The Seattle City Council requested that we evaluate the School Emphasis Officers component of the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

Results:  School Emphasis Officers from the Seattle Police Department have the potential to build trust among school students, which could help to change perceptions of the police in school and the wider community.  However the program is challenged by lack of clarity in structure and relationship with the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, and it would benefit from specific goals and outcome measures.  The report offers recommendations in three areas.

September 23, 2015

Consultant Report on Seattle Mortgage Documents Review

Focus: The purpose of the consultant review was to determine whether MERS contributed to residential foreclosures by reviewing a random sample of mortgage-related records associated with MERS from the five zip codes in Seattle with the highest foreclosure rates in early 2013.

Results:  As a result of the way in which King County indexes its records and the methodology used by the consultant to select their sample, the consultant examined a sample of records that was not representative of MERS-related assignments in Seattle and included only one foreclosure. Consequently, it was not possible for the consultant to determine whether MERS-related assignments led to foreclosures. However, as a result of the consultant's work, we now have a better understanding of the issues that would need to be addressed to answer this question. Any future reviews would need the involvement of King County, as Seattle mortgage assignment documents are filed with the King County Recorder's Office.

June 30, 2015

Status Report on Implementation of Office of City Auditor Recommendations as of December 2014

Focus:  To report on the implementation status as of December 2014 of 414 recommendations from audit reports issued by our office from January 2007 through December 2014. 

Results:  As of December 31, 2014, 72 percent (297 out of 414) were implemented, 15 percent (61.5 out of 414) were pending, and 13 percent (55.5 out of 414) were categorized as no further follow-up planned.

June 16, 2015

Evaluation of Career Bridge Program


At the request of the City Council Budget Committee, the Office of City Auditor selected MEF Associates to conduct an evaluation of Career Bridge, a program designed to assist low-income men of color with multiple barriers to employment by providing them with educational and social services.


MEF Associates concluded that the Career Bridge program represents a creative approach for combining public funds with community-based activism to increase the opportunities for low-income men of color facing barriers to employment, including formerly incarcerated individuals. The report identifies several challenges that, if addressed, could improve the program.  The report concludes that Career Bridge has demonstrated strong employment outcomes and has the potential to benefit the individuals enrolled in the program as well as the communities they come home to.

March 18, 2015

Audit of the Seattle Police Department's Public Disclosure Process


This audit examined the Seattle Police Department's processes and systems for handling public records requests. We evaluated whether current processes and systems include sufficient controls and oversight to: (1) ensure responses to requests are accurate, consistent, and timely; (2) provide reasonable assurance of compliance with legal requirements; and (3) and promote transparency and public trust.


The Seattle Police Department (SPD) received almost 4,700 requests for public records in 2014. SPD is challenged to respond to these requests in an accurate and timely manner because of an increased volume of requests, complex legal environment, and changes in technology. We found significant gaps in the resources and systems that SPD uses to process public records requests, and these gaps hinder SPD's ability to ensure accurate and timely responses, provide reasonable assurance of compliance with state law, and promote transparency and public trust. We make 13 recommendations in our report. Our first two recommendations address critical gaps in SPD's Public Disclosure Unit resources and systems and will provide immediate improvements to the Unit's efficiency and accountability. The audit's 11 additional recommendations will improve the Unit's access to records, reduce inefficiencies and the risk of errors, improve oversight and staffing of the Unit, and improve the Unit's communications with the public. Please note that the Seattle Police Department's final, written response to the report is included in Appendix F of the report.