City Audits: Worse Than You Thought
A City Council committee voted yesterday to send a controversial audit bill to the voters for approval as a charter amendment, according to this excellent Baltimore Brew report.
Councilman Carl Stokes (12th District) introduced the proposed ordinance in March, which would require audits of every city department every two years. As we reported then, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was lukewarm, at best, to the bill.
The City Law Department has said in an April memo the council does not have the authority to direct City Comptroller Joan Pratt to alter her audit schedule which, by charter, is currently at “appropriate intervals”–meaning at her discretion.
Apparently, some city agencies have not been audited since the Presidential Administration of Richard M. Nixon.
Budget Director Andrew Kleine opined in a May 23 memo that a once-every-two-years audit schedule would cost $1 million a year, at least: too much.
He also said, in writing, something astonishing, as the Brew reports:
One other problem Kleine cited in his memo is the inability of individual agencies, boards and commissions to prepare for audits.
Most “do not prepare annual financial statements and lack the expertise to prepare these documents,” he wrote. “Financial statement preparation may be an additional cost related to the legislation.”
Repeat: Most city agencies, boards and commissions “do not prepare annual financial statements.”
Here is a link to the city’s proposed 2013 budget documents. Your guess as to how those “agency detail” numbers (volumes one and two) were arrived at is as good as any0ne’s.