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Taylor Issues Phase Two of Lakewood Performance Audit
Cuyhoga County -
Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released phase two of the city of Lakewood performance audit. The city could save more than $1.5 million annually if the audit recommendations are adopted.
“Phase two of the city of Lakewood performance audit recommends ways to improve their financial future,” said Taylor. “This performance audit will be a valuable resource for community leaders. I encourage them to implement the recommendations outlined in the audit.”
City officials requested that the performance audit be conducted in two phases so that recommendations would be available for the annual budget process. Phase one of the performance audit analyzed the city’s 2008 budget and five year forecast. It was released on March 27, 2008.
Phase two of the audit focuses on health care costs and performance measurement. It also reviews the building and housing, police, and fire divisions, as well as aspects of the public works department. The audit recommendations provide a series of options for city of Lakewood officials to consider. The audit states that:
• Changing employee health insurance contributions through negotiations could save $324,000.
• Establishing a base health insurance plan through negotiations could save $682,000.
• Adjusting the number of groundskeeper/forestry employees could save $316,000 and replacing full-time staff with seasonal or part-time staff could save $22,000.
• Reviewing the number of traffic sign and signal employees, in conjunction with relevant performance measures, could allow for adjustments in staffing and result in related savings of $59,000.
• Reducing minimum staffing requirements in the fire division through negotiations could save $527,000 in overtime costs.
• Adjusting the number of clerical staff and eliminating postage costs could save $46,300.
• Adjusting the number of firefighters could save $181,000
• Based on a cost-benefit analysis, determining whether to contract or hire for street maintenance and repair services could cost $430,000.
• Sending dispatch personnel to emergency medical dispatcher training could cost $3,600.
• Purchasing an electronic work order system could be a one time cost of $495.
• Purchasing equipment to automate inspections could be a one time cost of $84,000.
The audit also notes that Lakewood officials should be commended for their high rate of recycling. In 2007, the city achieved a recycling rate of 39 percent, which exceeds the average recycling rate of Cuyahoga County (27 percent) and the standard set by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (25 percent). Additionally, the city received an award in 2006 from the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District for their efforts to promote paper recycling.
A performance audit reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of government agency or program operations. This is achieved through comparing and benchmarking similarly situated agencies to the agency under audit. A performance audit can be used to improve operations, save taxpayer dollars and make better use of existing resources.
A full copy of the report is available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2008/City_of_Lakewood_08_Performance-Cuyahoga.pdf
The Ohio Auditor of State’s office is one of the largest accounting offices in the nation. The office strives to ensure that all public funds are spent legally and appropriately and works aggressively to root out fraud, waste and abuse in public spending. Taylor encourages anyone suspecting fraud or misspending of public dollars to contact her office toll free at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364). Since taking office in January 2007, Taylor has identified more than $17.5 million in public funds that were spent illegally and must be repaid.