Mayor’s Impact Team—Preliminary Audit Report
by Geoff Kelly - posted 6:04 pm, May 21, 2008
Here’s the text of preliminary audit report of the Mayor’s Impact Team, filed this afternoon by the City Comptroller with the Common Council:
In response to the Council’s request for an immediate audit of the Mayor’s Impact Team, following an incident on April 25, 2008, resulting in the suspension of three city workers, I am filing this preliminary report pending completion of the full audit.
Let me begin by commending the mayor for his swift disciplinary action in the matter in which workers were found to be performing landscaping work during regular working hours at the private property of one of the individuals involved. Such actions are an abuse of the public trust and cannot be tolerated. The mayor’s response is appropriate and sends the right message to the work force and the public. But in this matter, there is more to be done.
What we have found in our preliminary review of the Mayor’s Impact Team is a lack of controls across the board that in effect condones an environment where incidents like the one that allegedly occurred on April 25 can take place. Let me cite a few examples.
A spot check on May 13 at the Impact Team’s headquarters in Shoshone Park found time sheets that had been signed twice for the day, even though the workday was not yet complete. Also at Shoshone Park we discovered poor inventory controls with a lack of proper marking and reliance mostly on the memory of one employee.
We also found areas of concern regarding fuel, a costly item in the current economic environment. Four employees have access to the Fuelmaster system but gas cans can be filled for mowers and gas-powered equipment with no odometer readings, using instead the reading from the truck carrying the equipment. If a gas container can be filled, so can an unregistered vehicle, or at least topped off. Tighter controls are obviously needed.
As to the day in question, April 25, according to MIT officials, members of the Impact Team were absent without leave that afternoon when the work on the private residence took place. The sign-out sheets for that day indicate that two employees including the crew chief, who approved the time sheet, signed out at noon. Another worked signed in and out and later crossed his name out altogether.
After the fact, a slip requesting a day off for that employee appeared in Public Works offices, signed by the crew chief. There are no records to account for the use of city vehicles or equipment.
According to payroll records, an employee was paid for eight hours even though the time sheets reviewed by my auditors indicated less than a full day’s work was done. One employee was credited with a personal day off, but was suspended in relation to the incident. The crew chief was correctly paid for five hours. An adjustment of salaries to reflect the correct number of hours worked is warranted. There is no proof that time sheets were altered or changed, but the fact remains the opportunity was clearly present. Clearly, what is recorded on the time sheets for April 25 does not match what was reported to the timekeeper. Since there seems to have been a practice of pre-signing time sheets, it is uncertain whether an employee worker the time stated on any given day.
We will provide the Council with the complete audit shortly. The need for stronger controls and oversight is evident and should be implemented immediately. I should note the vitally important work performed by the Mayor’s Impact Team and the need to have them continue to provide their services to the community. I’m confident that with the proper controls in place, the Impact Team will become even more valuable as a city resource. We will have more recommendations in the full audit report.