Thursday, December 06, 2007

Top City Projects, Big Contracts Are Target of Montee's Audit

Financial decisions made to develop some of Springfield's top downtown projects were the target of a highly anticipated state audit released Thursday.

In a 70-page report, State Auditor Susan Montee said the city has made decisions that have required "a significant amount of resources, and accumulated a significant future liability for the city."

"A considerable amount of city funds have been spent as a result of poor planning and poor oversight," Montee wrote.

Montee is recommending the city hire its own internal auditor to help resolve financial problems and better plan for the future. The city appears to be embracing the recommendation.

You can watch my full report on the audit on KY3 News @ 10.

To read the executive summary of the audit report, click here.

To read the full 70-page audit report, click here.

The City said it was pleased that none of the findings suggest financial mismanagement or missing funds. "I'm pleasantly surprised," said Councilman Doug Burlison, who led the charge for the audit as a private citizen. "It could've been a lot worse, but we all now know we have problems that we need to address, so I think it was worth it," Burlison added.

City Spokeswoman Louise Whall released a statement saying the city will move quickly with the Auditor's recommendation for an internal auditor position. "The Council will hire an internal auditor on a contract basis for the short term to specifically address recommendations in the audit. From there, Council will determine the best way to structure the position for the long term," Whall said in a statement.

The following are some of the main findings in Montee's audit:

  • The city paid $693,000 to demolish and design the Heers building without soliciting bids.
  • The terms in the city's agreement for the College Station project do not appear to be adequately protect the city's investment.
  • The city has spent more than $3 million dollars on a police/fire training facility that still does not exist.
  • The Jordan Valley Ice Park has a $6 million dollar deficit. It was projected to be self-supporting but it is not.
  • Some city employees have received over $100,000 for unused leave time on retirement.
  • City contracts with the former City Manager, former City attorney and City lobbyist were not always followed, documentation for work was vague and not always adequate.
  • The city has not developed a proper plan to refund bonds for the crime lab.
  • The city should perform a cost benefit analysis of its city owned vehicles. 25 city vehicles were driven less than 1,000 miles a year. Consolidation of services is needed.
  • Better controls are needed on the city's 450 purchasing cards issued to various employees. Excessive spending and unnecessary purchases were found. The Parks Department assigned fuel cards to employees who do not use or need them.
Ron Davis, over at Chatter, called it "a definite black eye" for former City Manager Tom Finnie. Davis also takes aim at Mayor Tom Carlson, who was a no-show for the audit's release.

Haven't been able to track down any other reaction from the blogosphere as of yet . . . Let me know if you do . . .

1 comment:

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

Oops, may have clicked on the "Bond Criticizes..." link instead.

Re: the audit - to those who didn't think it was a worthy effort, might I suggest some public admission of error in judgement?