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The Mayor’s Impact Team

Today Brian Meyers has a piece in the News in which Darryl McPherson of the City Comptroller’s office describes improvements in the performance of the Mayor’s Impact Team.

You might recall that we here started FOILing for documents related to the Mayor’s Impact Team the day before its supervisor, Bill Buyers, was busted by a Channel 7 news team using team members and equipment to do work on his own property during regular work hours.

In the subsequent fracas, City Comptroller Andy SanFilippo vowed to audit the Mayor’s Impact Team thoroughly—basically, to do what I had hoped to do with whatever documents the mayor’s office would release to me. Nearly a month later, SanFilippo released a preliminary audit report that found few or no controls on the way workers signed on and off duty, the use of equipment and vehicles, the procurement of fuel, etc. The preliminary report concluded:

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.

No full audit report was released—not “shortly,” not ever. SanFilippo’s staff received raises, then his office went silent on the issue of the Mayor’s Impact Team. In fact, apart from the preliminary audit and this Valentine from McPherson, the Comptroller ‘s office has not publicly released an audit since June 2007—a cursory review of the police department’s gun buy-back program.

Back in April, when I asked (former TV news troubleshooter, now assistant to the comptroller) Tony Farina how the office decided to do audits, he told that they might do one when someone asked them to. Here’s a plan SanFilippo released in July 2007 to perform eight audits in the course of the year. Were they ever done? If so, why have they not been released publicly?

And how come the findings of the preliminary audit of the Mayor’s Impact Team didn’t lead to firings? It’s a good thing to establish more stringent controls, if that’s indeed what has happened. It’s also a good thing to remove foxes from the henhouse.