Taylor Issues City of Marietta Performance Audit

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Marietta -

Auditor of State Mary Taylor released the performance audit of the city of Marietta today revealing a potential $3 million deficit by 2011 if city officials do not act to cut costs and improve efficiency.

“I strongly encourage city officials to consider the recommendations made in this report in their continuing effort to improve services at the lowest cost to the taxpayer,” Taylor said. “Difficult decisions are necessary to effectively reduce costs and avoid future deficits.”

In a unique move, residents of Marietta placed a referendum on the ballot in November 2006 requesting a performance audit of city operations. The referendum was approved by city residents.

The performance audit of Marietta examined the financial environment of the city through 2011 and reviewed the overall structure of city operations and staffing levels. The audit reveals a looming $3,028,338 deficit by 2011 if city officials fail to make difficult management decisions in an effort to reduce spending. For instance, reducing future salary increases of city employees from four percent to three percent would significantly reduce projected deficits. Other recommendations include:

  • Reviewing the performance of each department and making staffing decisions based upon the review
  • Utilizing current staff and state agency resources when providing required training to city employees
  • Developing a strategy for contract negotiations, including the assignment of specific tasks to city officials
  • Updating job descriptions of city employees and establishing detailed mission and vision statements
  • Ensuring that the mayor and city auditor work together to establish and review a five year financial forecast

The audit also identifies areas that will require additional review by city officials in an effort to continue to improve efficiency. Those issues include:

  • Requiring council members to examine their role and function based on the significantly high number of ordinances and resolutions passed compared to those of their peers
  • Investigating the potential savings from consolidation of emergency dispatch services with the county
  • Assessing case loads in the municipal court
  • Reviewing staff levels in the city police and fire departments
  • Reviewing the size of the police department’s vehicle fleet for appropriateness

Performance audits report on the efficiency and effectiveness of government agencies or programs.  This is achieved by comparing programs and operations of the audit client to similarly situated entities. A performance audit can be used to help agencies improve operations, save tax dollars and make better use of existing resources.

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).

A full copy of the report is available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.