Baltimore officials missed the Dec. 31 deadline to complete audits of several city agencies.

In 2012, Baltimore voters ordered city officials to conduct separate performance and financial audits of 13 agencies — including the police, fire and transportation departments — by the end of 2016.

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As the year ended, five of the 26 audits remained unfinished.

City Auditor Robert L. McCarty said performance and financial audits of the Department of Public Works and the Department of Human Resources and a financial audit of the Baltimore Development Corp. will be finished by February.

He said several factors led to the delay in completing the audits, including "a learning curve" at agencies that hadn't been audited in decades, and prioritizing a citywide audit and a probe of the city's water system.

There is no legal penalty for missing the deadline.

Former City Councilman Carl Stokes, who led the charge for more frequent auditing of city agencies, called the delay "predictable."

While the city performs an annual audit of its overall finances, Stokes noted that some departments had not undergone detailed audits in decades and needed to prepare financial statements, slowing the process down.

"There frankly wasn't a very strong intent to get them done," Stokes said. "There's a climate at City Hall that thinks strict accountability is not the culture of the day. We had to fight so much to get it done."

Stokes said he didn't blame any individual for the delay.

"They have not done audits in 30 years," he said. "There were no books; there were no financials to audit. First they had to create books and financials to audit.

"This wasn't about the last administration. This goes back 30 years."

McCarty said performance and financial audits of the Public Works department will be presented to the Board of Estimates on Wednesday.

Performance and financial audits of the Human Resources department and a performance audit of the BDC will go before the city's spending panel on Feb. 1, he said.

Despite the difficulty in completing agency-level audits, voters last year chose to require them more frequently. Under a new charter amendment, such audits must be completed every two years.

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