Parks & Rec. 3 of 3

City Internal Auditor Imogene Isaacs who resigned after 22 years of devoted service to the city, after she was accused of leaking a story to the Palm Beach Post in 2012 concerning the Redemptive Life debacle is when I became interested in the audit department.

In 2013 the city hired a new Internal Auditor namely Roger Strout and that is the year I started attending the Audit Committee meetings along with three other residents.

We received notice of meeting’s via e-mail of date-time-and location–every month.
The City changed the meetings to quarterly (as required by the City Charter) and that is when the e-mails stopped notifying us of upcoming meetings, probably in the hopes we forget. Some did.

Along with Mr. Strout and his staff there are 3 Members-At-Large (All volunteers with background in accounting and the alphabet following their names) Their terms are staggered, and when their term ends they are invited back. The fourth member is the “Mayors Designee”

One Members-At-Large was named Harvey Caspari who in my opinion was the most intelligent member of the team. He asked very direct questions and if he was unhappy with the response or lack of, he was a bull dog and kept at it until he got the answers he needed. There was no fooling this guy. When his term ended, he was not invited back.
Another member is the “Mayors Designee” named David Rosenstein who has been a member since the Mayor appointed him, and will be there until the Mayors term ends.
I have listened time after time as Mr. Rosenstein question Mr. Strout on the number of audits he does and the length of time he spends on them. Here’s what I learned.

The audit dept. cannot do an audit until it receives documentation from the departments it is auditing. And there is the problem. It takes weeks, and in some cases months, before the needed documentation is released to the auditing dept. It seems Mr. Rosenstein should be asking City Administrator Jeff Green, who oversees city departments, why it takes so long to release the needed documentation.
I have heard excuses such as the person is on vacation, we are short staffed and other varied excuses. This is the main reason audit’s take so long.

Now would be the time to remind residents the City Internal Audit Dept. is the only dept. under the control of the City Commissioners.

When the Park & Rec. audit was completed a copy was sent to Mayor Muoio, City Administrator Jeff Green, Deputy Administrator Dorritt Miller, Assistant City Administrator Danielle Slaterpryce, Director of Parks and Rec. Leah Rockwell., and finally Director of Finance Mark Parks.

At this point the audit dept. waits for a response from the people mentioned above to receive feed back. This may take weeks to receive a response.

Audit Committee meeting scheduled for Feb.25,2016 was rescheduled until March 24,2016.
May 26,2016 meeting has just been moved to June 9,2016. Is this extra time needed for the city’s to sanitize the auditors report?

The Auditors report has found.

(1) Performing Background Checks:

One time volunteers are not background checked.
Regular volunteers, including athletic coaches, are not fingerprinted;instead a national search is performed based on the volunteers social security no.
No record is kept on who participates as a group volunteer and they are not background checked.

The city has a relationship with Prime Time which provides the city with volunteers, and it is their responsibility to run a background check on these individuals, however Park & Rec. does not obtain copies of the background checks.

According to the US Dept. of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website(NSOPW) 62,939 cases of child sexual abuse was reported in 2012.
Makes you rethink sending kid’s to summer camp.

Cause: The Dept. budget does not support the added expense of performing Level 2 fingerprint checks on volunteers.

Effect: A person with a questionable background could potentially obtain access to a child or vulnerable adult.

(2) Documenting Background Checks:

The Department was unable to locate six (6) of the nine (9) files requested or sixty seven percent (67%)

Cause: The Dept. does not have policies and procedures in place related to maintaining background check records.

Affect: The dept. inability to locate requested files for background checks may indicate they were not performed, possibly exposing children & vulnerable adults to individuals with questionable backgrounds.

It is my opinion the world runs better with volunteers and it only takes one bad apple.

(3) Securing Cash Collections:

As part of the Park & Rec audit, they noticed cash collections were not adequately secured.

Cause: There is not always a supervisor or second employee to complete the final cash count & verification at the end of the day.

Effect: With so many staff members having access to the safes, the opportunity exists to misappropriate cash.

Among the three listed items mentioned above there are 10 other items listed where problems were found and they are.

(4) Restricting Access to the Safes
(5) Drop Safes Combination Changes
(6) Timely Deposits
(7) Safeguarding RecTrac Credentials
(8) Logging out of RecTrac
(9) Non-Cash Terminals
(10) Processing Cancellations
(11)Restrictively Endorsing Checks & Timing and Pattern of Checks
(12)Sequential Documentation

One last observation: Internal Auditors Meetings are held in the Flagler Room directly across from the City Commission Chambers. This room is equipped for televising the meeting on the City’s channel 18 for residents who have an interest in following it.
Don’t bother looking for it, you wont find it. Why? The mayor can have it televised but will not. Why? It’s really no ones business what occurs there. It’s easier to sweep mistakes under the rug and protect employees who cant or wont do the job.

Park & Rec. Part 2 of 3

West Palm Beach Parks and Recreation Outsourcing and Efficiency Analysis conducted by Management Properties
From: Management Properties
To: Dorritt Miller

Ms. Dorritt Miller Deputy City Administrator City of West Palm Beach
401 Clematis Street West Palm Beach, FL 33402
Dear Ms. Miller:

Management Partners is pleased to provide this report summarizing the results of our analysis of the Department of Parks and Recreation. We examined the department’s structure, service delivery, staffing, and operations to identify opportunities to enhance efficiency and effectiveness through outsourcing and process improvement opportunities. We have determined that outsourcing is a viable option for some functions, but the department accomplishes other functions so efficiently that outsourcing is likely to increase costs. Some recommendations may require additional investment to yield the anticipated service improvements. However, those investments will support the City’s ongoing efforts to provide excellent service while maintaining a sustainable financial position. We appreciated the opportunity to work with you on this important project and look forward to assisting you with the implementation.
Gerald E. Newfarmer
President and CEO

Department of Parks and Recreation.
The Department of Parks and Recreation consists of three divisions: Recreation, Parks and Grounds Maintenance, and Community Events.
There is some evidence that the Parks and Grounds Maintenance Division within the Department of Parks and Recreation does not have sufficient resources to adequately complete all of its maintenance responsibilities.
This is due to a significant increase in workload and a decrease in staff over the past several years.

FY 2009-10, the department absorbed the Public Works Grounds Maintenance Division. As a result, the City eliminated 25.5 vacant positions and saved $1.5 million, according to the City’s budget document. Since that time however, the Parks and Grounds Maintenance Division has lost additional positions, but has had an increase in workload

2009-10 parks and grounds maintenance FTEs have decreased by 11%. Over the same time period, average workload has increased by 24%.

Originating Work Orders:
1- Maintenance chiefs receive work orders from at least 11 different people in various City divisions and via four different methods, including by phone, verbal requests, email, and through MainTrac. When receiving requests outside of MainTrac, staff does not enter many of the maintenance requests into the system.
RESULT: Loss of valuable information about workload, cost, and time to complete the work. In addition, there have been issues about service requests for events. For example, for one special event, maintenance staff did not supply the event workers with electrical cords due to a communication error. In another example, an error in scheduling for hanging banners caused the use of overtime. The department can avoid miscommunication by requiring the use of MainTrac to initiate work order requests. This will increase efficiency, reduce costs, and reduce incidents of rework.
Recommendation: Require staff to initiate work order requests through MainTrac to improve the work order process.

2- Assigning Work Orders and Their Priority: Currently, staff members initiating work orders in MainTrac are able to choose the work unit and priority of work orders. However, these staff members often assign work orders to the wrong division or incorrectly classify the priority. The maintenance chiefs then reroute the work to the correct unit and reclassify the priority.
RESULT: This causes unnecessary delays in completing work order requests due to administrative rework on the part of the maintenance chiefs.
Recommendation: Route all maintenance requests through the Parks and Grounds Maintenance Division secretary who will request priority assignment from maintenance chiefs.

3- Recording the Close-Out of Work Orders: Maintenance staff currently use a paper form to provide information about closed work orders. Staff delivers these forms to the maintenance chiefs who then enter the information into MainTrac.
RESULT:This practice can create rework and increases the likelihood of data entry errors. In addition, maintenance chiefs do not have the time to enter all written worksheets into MainTrac, resulting in a loss of data.
Recommendation: Require maintenance crews to enter completed work order information directly into MainTrac. This will reduce possible transcription errors and free up valuable time for the maintenance chiefs.

4- Training Staff to Become More Effective Users of MainTrac: Some Parks and Recreation staff who use the MainTrac system are not aware of its full capabilities, which inhibits the most effective use of the system. If the City invested in additional training, it would ensure staff learns how to properly use the MainTrac system and more fully exploits its functionality. Training will provide the proper support for staff to adopt, customize and use the system.
Recommendation: Invest in additional training for staff including maintenance chiefs, secretaries, and crew leaders to support the use of MainTrac and reduce manual work tracking.

Collecting Sufficient Data: Staff indicated that the maintenance work order worksheets (from which such as the full cost of staff enters data into MainTrac) do not capture important information, completed work and time spent on work orders.
RESULT: Without this information, management cannot determine the total cost for work orders, projects, and the amount of time to perform work. The lack of data negatively affects the City’s ability to charge accurate fees. For example, the City charges fees for event permits. However, the Department is unable to capture the true cost of an event due to the incomplete work order data collected.
Recommendation: Incorporate full cost and time data for work orders into MainTrac.

5- Underutilizing MainTrac System Components: The Department of Parks and Recreation owns the Inspection and Results Module of MainTrac, but does not use it. The Inspection and Results Module enables the user to automate inspection work and has mobile capability. According to Vermont Systems, this module enables the user to: • Process inspections in real-time, • Customize inspection forms, • Trigger work orders for failed inspection items, • Schedule inspections, and • Track and store inspection data, including notes and photographs. Currently, Parks staff complete inspections of parks facilities on a scheduled basis and after visitors complain about a park or facility..
Recommendation: Use the Inspection and Results Module and the Job and Task Maintenance Scheduling Module from MainTrac.

6- The department also owns the Job and Task Maintenance Scheduling Module from MainTrac, but does not currently use it. This module enables the user to schedule and plan work duties and assignments. According to Vermont Systems, the module provides the following capabilities: • Schedule employee work duties, • Schedule routine jobs/work duties, • Distribute work orders, • Estimate job/task completion times, • Create individual and crew schedules, • Produce schedule log sheets, • View current schedule calendars, • Schedule jobs at any time, and • Schedule equipment and materials.
Currently, the department does all work scheduling and tracking manually. By using the Job and Task Maintenance Scheduling Module management could schedule crews and equipment more effectively. The system could also produce reports that show work calendars and job tasks.
Recommendation: Use the Inspection and Results Module and the Job and Task Maintenance Scheduling Module from MainTrac.

7- The report above consists of 89 pages including graphs. The City has ordered and paid for a computer program named “MainTrac” which I am told was expensive, but worth the money.

CONCLUSION It appears most of the program is not used. Why?
ANSWER: No one knows how.
Parks & Rec. is overseen by Dorritt Miller, one more department with multiple problems which has continued for years.