2016 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.

August 10, 2016

Seattle City Light Billable Services Audit

Focus: The objectives for our audit of City Light service connections and related services were to: (1) Determine whether internal controls over the billing and revenue collection process were designed properly and operating effectively, including controls to help ensure the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of billing, and to ensure that all funds collected were deposited into the City Treasury; (2) Identify control weaknesses in the billing and revenue collection process and make recommendations for strengthening controls; (3) Determine through sampling of billing transactions whether the customer was billed accurately, completely, and timely, and whether all revenues were collected timely and appropriately deposited.

Results:  Through our testing of 100 time and materials service connection projects and our review of City Light's billing and revenue collection processes, we identified both control weaknesses and billing inaccuracies. In some cases we found evidence of either over or under billing for services. We also identified billing adjustments that were not supported with sufficient documentation. If billing for new and related services is not well controlled over time, unrecovered billable costs due to customer under billing may need to be recovered in the form of higher electric utility rates. We categorized our findings into five main areas: 1) completeness and accuracy of billing, 2) timeliness of billing and revenue collection, 3) cash handling, 4) monitoring and oversight of refunds, and 5) control environment. Although we did not identify specific instances of fraud, the control weaknesses we noted could create opportunities for fraud.

We made 18 recommendations to help improve the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of City Light's billing and revenue collection processes. One of these recommendations is for City Light to follow-up on billing discrepancies identified during the audit of $10,000 or more, including two projects with adjustments totaling $253,000, to determine if additional customer billing or refunds are appropriate. City Light's formal response to our audit is in Appendix A of the report. City Light generally agreed with our recommendations.

August 3, 2016

Ten Things the City of Seattle Should Consider When Evaluating a Pilot Implementation of an Acoustic Gunshot Locator System

The City of Seattle is considering implementing an acoustic gunshot locator system as a pilot project, and the City Council requested short summary of the current literature on acoustic gunshot locator systems and the essential factors for conducting an evaluation.  This Research Brief identifies ten things that the City should consider in advance of implementing the system  to enable a rigorous evaluation of the pilot project to ensure that the system is producing the desired outcomes for Seattle.

June 8, 2016

Audit of Services the Metropolitan Improvement District Provides in Belltown

Focus: When the Seattle City Council approved the reauthorization of the Metropolitan Improvement District (MID) and its expansion into Belltown in May 2013, they included a performance audit requirement in the authorizing legislation, Ordinance 124175. As specified in this ordinance, the audit's primary purpose was to assess whether, three years after implementation, Belltown has received the general types and levels of services described in the MID Business Plan.

Results: We concluded that the Belltown is receiving the general types and levels of services described in the MID's April 18, 2013 Business Plan, including the services outlined in the Belltown Program Implementation Plan that is part of the MID Business Plan.


June 2, 2016

Status Report on Implementation of Office of City Auditor Recommendations as of December 2015

Focus:  To report on the implementation status as of December 2015 of 453 recommendations from audit reports issued by our office from January 2007 - December 2015.

Results:  As of December 31, 2015, 75 percent (337 out of 453) were implemented, 13 percent (60.5 out of 453) were pending, and 12 percent (55.5 out of 453) were categorized as no further follow up planned.

April 28, 2016

Prescription Drug Disposal: Opportunities for the City of Seattle

This research brief addresses one component of a comprehensive public health approach to addressing drug abuse -- the safe disposal of unused prescription drugs.  Safe disposal of unused prescription drugs, especially opioid pain relievers, reduces the risk of nonmedical use that might lead to drug abuse, including heroin addiction.

On April 4, 2016, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed Resolution 31654 expressing the City's support for an effective, countywide safe prescription drug disposal program, including controlled substances, and requesting local pharmacies and the Seattle Police Department to install drug disposal drop-boxes across the city: http://seattle.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2598093&GUID=9551D2DD-0DDA-46AF-A2CF-7617D347C467

April 11, 2016

Seattle Police Department Overtime Controls Audit

Focus: Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole asked us to conduct an audit of the Seattle Police Department's (SPD) overtime controls. Specifically, we were asked to review whether there was adequate leadership, management oversight, and supervisory control to manage SPD's overtime spending. Over the past ten years SPD's overtime expenditures have almost doubled and have significantly exceeded SPD's overtime budget. In 2015, SPD spent $24.2 million on overtime. SPD's overtime expenditure trend has caused concerns for the City Council and the City Budget Office, as well as for SPD management.

Results: We identified significant gaps in SPD's overtime internal controls that led to overtime errors and inefficiencies, including duplicate payments of overtime. We found overtime control weaknesses in six major categories: policies and procedures, budgeting, operational controls, management controls, special events, and off-duty work. We offer thirty recommendations to address these weaknesses.  SPD agreed with all of our findings and recommendations.