New Sheriff In Town

On Aug.25,2016 I attended the Internal Auditor meeting and as usual received excellent information on city run business, which I will share with you.

 Mr Strout and his staff finished two audits namely HCD (Housing and Community Development) and the Fleet report. Two very important and time consuming audits.
This story will concern HCD.
HCD is responsible for planning, administering, implementing, and monitoring Federal and State housing programs, and is charged with administration of the City’s federal awards from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD ) In 2013 and 2014 the City was awarded $6,552,701 and $5,254,517 respectively.
Statement of Objectives:

1}  To determine whether HCD is managed in accordance with HUD requirements and whether the City Administration exercised reasonable administrative oversight over the consultants brought in to manage the Department.

2}  To review fiscal policies and practices to ensure that drawdowns were made correctly, program income was captured, and fiscal information was properly recorded in both the City’s financial information system and HUD’s system.

3} To ensure that grant recipients met the qualifications for assistance and that all files were maintained in accordance with departmental policies.

Audit Conclusions and Summary of Findings:
1}  All four consultants hired to provide technical services to HCD, provided some services prior to the execution of their contracts and or contract amendments.
2} The City did not fully utilize processes to evaluate vendor performance.
3}  Community Redevelopment Associates (CRA) did not have adequate staff on site to manage its engagement.
      NOTE: Not to be confused with Kim Briesmeister’s City’s CRA. 
4}  The vendor selection process needed improvement.
5} A few files did not contain all required documentation.
A breakdown of the Conclusions and Summary Findings of the IA report.
 1}  CRA was paid $95,829 prior to the execution of a contract pricing amendment FY 2014. After reviewing the summary of paid invoices provided by the Finance Department, it was determined that CRA was not paid in accordance with their 2014 contract amendment. The fee for one program was contracted at a total payment of $13,224, which equates to $1,102 per month. Historically, these programs were paid on a straight-line monthly basis. However, in 2014 the vendor was paid on an accelerated payment schedule of $2,171 per month, nearly double the contractual rate.
 The contractor was subsequently terminated effective June 1, 2014. As a result of the termination, there were a series of contractors brought in to assist HCD staff, until a new director was hired in November 2015, namely Armando Fana, Director of HCD, and his Administrator Assistant Jennifer Ferriol, and a staff of 12.
The August 25 meeting I heard many accolades concerning Mr. Fana and Ms. Ferriol, and the turnaround in the department. Mr. Fana stated he could not have done it without Ms. Ferriol and she stated she could not have done it without her staff. No glory hounds here, but credit for all. 
On June 17,2016 a story was posted titled “The Report Is In” and was the IA report on the Procurement Dept, and the many problems that occurred within due to a staffing problem, and apparently a lack of interest from Deputy City Administrator Miller who oversaw the department.
Note:  Credit must be given to Mayor Muoio who changed procedure and now has HCD reporting to her office, bypassing Deputy City Administrator Dorritt Miller who oversaw the department and it’s many former problems. Remember the story in the PB Post two years ago