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Politicsby Mark Reutter6:56 pmDec 10, 20150

Lapses exposed in DOT audit will be addressed, mayor says

The lack of documentation cited in the audit was “not a surprise,” Rawlings-Blake says, as she outlines steps taken to address the problem

Above: Mayor Rawlings-Blake reads a statement about the DOT audit at the Board of Estimates.

Responding to a scathing audit of the Department of Transportation’s poor documentation of its core functions, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the findings “were not a surprise” and she would create a committee to make recommendations on how to fix the problems.

In a statement read at the Board of Estimates meeting yesterday, the mayor said a soon-to-be-formed Quadrennial Audits Committee would make suggestions for the retention of documents that would confirm whether “performance goals” used by DOT in public reports and to the City Council were accurate.

The audit, officially released yesterday but reported earlier in The Brew, detailed how the agency “did not maintain adequate policies, procedures, and internal controls” to measure its performance in five core areas, including bridge inspections and street light repairs.

“We’ve Been Proactive”

“This key finding of the audit is not a surprise,” Rawlings-Blake said in her statement. “We’ve been proactive in taking measures to address issues identified in the audit long before the audit report existed.”

She said her administration was in the process of creating a “data warehouse” to collect supportive documents and meet the retention standards cited in the DOT audit.

FULL TEXT OF “Quadrennial Performance Audit of DOT for Fiscal Years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013” can be found here.

She said that the performance management wing of CitiStat and outcome staff of the Department of Finance have also been beefed up.

“Outcome staff will connect our old strategies and implementation efforts so that, as a government, we understand whether our strategies are being implemented effectively on a day-to-day basis [and] whether the strategy itself is effective in moving our city to our long-range goals.”

She continued, “This synchronization between CitiStat and budgeting is something that has never existed in the city before. But it is a direction that I chose because I thought we needed to give the City of Baltimore more cutting-edge government and more innovation around management and outcomes.”

Blown Deadlines

The Rawlings-Blake administration has repeatedly missed its own deadlines for completing audits of city agencies required under a 2012 charter amendment approved by voters.

In the first round of audits covering Transportation, Finance, Public Works, Police, and Recreation and Parks, only yesterday’s DOT audit has been completed and publicly released.

Finance Director Henry J. Raymond, who will head the Quadrennial Audits Committee, told a City Council committee last month that both financial and performance audits of DOT, Finance, and Rec and Parks were “anticipated” on November 30, while a performance and finance audit of the Police Department was expected on December 15.

Raymond made no statement yesterday to the Board of Estimates about when these audits might be expected and subsequently released.

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