Thursday, November 20, 2014

A good day for government transparency

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 2:45 PM

click to enlarge dennynester.jpg

OK. OK. I realize not everyone gets excited about government disclosure. But I do, and most journalists do, so we just feel compelled to tell that it appears the city Audit Committee is on a path toward more openness.

As we reported in this week's edition
, the committee today took up the matter of how the City Auditor's Office reports on its work. The committee previously allowed results to be summarized in a one-page report.

Auditor Denny Nester tells us via voice mail that he's been directed to provide one-page reports only for audits that have no findings. For audits that have do have findings, such as policy lapses or system failures, the committee wants a longer report, though not necessarily a full-blown report, depending on whether the audit is routine or a special audit. (Routine, or standard audits, cover such things as cash disbursements and cash receipts.)

Special audits are those designated by the Audit Committee or at the request of the mayor on a specific topic.

Sensitive audits planned for next year include some hot-button issues:

— City and Springs Utilities outsourced fleet maintenance contract
— Cell phone bill accuracy
— City of Colorado Springs consulting agreements
— Use of outside legal counsel
— IT issues
— Urban Renewal Authority
— Health care costs
— Springs Airport ground transportation contractors
— Utilities' pollution control project involving Neumann Systems Group's technology, among others.

Nester says the Audit Committee will direct him at its Dec. 18  Jan. 15 meeting which of the "sensitive" audits planned for 2015 will require full audit reports, which include explanations of methodology and detailed examples that led to the audit's findings.

Moreover, Nester says, the committee directed him to make back-up materials on audits with findings available for public scrutiny.

"If there are findings, the public will have access to those findings and materials that explain what those findings were," Nester says. "If it’s a sensitive report, even if there are no findings, you’ll have more background information."
Here's the full 2015-2017 audit plan.

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