Baltimore's Board of Estimates on Wednesday is set to approve $416,000 for performance and financial audits of three key city agencies.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration will pay Hamilton Enterprises LLC to audit the Department of Transportation; SB & Co. LLC to audit the Department of Recreation and Parks; and city auditors, who report to Comptroller Joan Pratt, to audit the mayor's Department of Finance.
Pratt's Department of Audits typically conducts as many as 20 audits a year, but its website has not been updated in nearly two years.
That's more annual audits than Baltimore's surrounding counties and some similar-sized cities, such as Oklahoma City and Tucson, but a smaller number than others, such as San Francisco, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.
Baltimore council members, frustrated that some departments hadn't undergone agency-wide performance and financial audits in decades, took the issue to the voters in 2012.
Voters approved a charter amendment requiring that the city's 13 key agencies undergo such audits every four years. The first agencies to receive the performance and financial reviews will be finance, recreation and parks, police, public works and transportation, according to the mayor's office.
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Agencies will have the choice of being audited by the comptroller's office or one of four outside firms. The audits must be completed by the end of 2016.
The Department of Recreation and Parks last year received a critical review from city auditors, who found the agency kept erroneous financial statements, confused revenue and expenses, and lacked procedures on how employees should handle cash.
The agency "did not initially provide accurate financial statements," according to city auditor Robert L. McCarty. The agency could not figure out why its records did not match city accounting and payroll numbers, he said, and later "developed separate financial statements."
City officials have pledged to enact financial improvements at the agency.