by Coby Mach, President & CEO Lincoln Independent Business Association
I know that most of you dream about the day you can attend a City of Lincoln Audit Board meeting…right? Well, any meeting can get interesting!
Two weeks ago I attended the Audit Advisory Board meeting to see what direction the new Engineering Services audit was headed. We had just completed the StarTran audit, but things didn’t seem quite right. In fact, two members of the Board were upset that the StarTran audit didn’t meet the requirements defined in the contract. Because I can rarely keep quiet about such matters, I stood up and testified that the Board should seek an opinion from its legal counsel and consider returning the audit until it was complete and done to a satisfactory level. The decision was tabled until next month. The Board members are good community volunteers, and I am confident they will do the right thing.
So back to the original reason for my attendance at this meeting…Engineering Services. There has been a long-circulated rumor that the city is building roads at a much higher cost than what can be done by the private sector. It’s time we have a professional look into these allegations to tell the taxpayers if we are getting the most “bang for our buck.”
LIBA testified that it would be good to include addendums to Engineering Services contracts within the scope of the audit. With respect to addendums, the audit should include how many addendums have occurred on average for a select number of Engineering Services projects in the last three years, at what point in the project they occurred and why. In addition, it would also be important to know whether standard engineering protocol was followed, and how closely it was followed, during projects that included addendums.
LIBA also testified that one of the other areas to include within the scope of the audit would be duplication of work. It would be important to include this area for purposes of tracking cost management. One of the questions that could be asked is as follows: Are city engineers duplicating or redoing work that has already been done by the private sector?
LIBA strongly encourages the Audit Advisory Board to determine whether any suggestions from Engineering Services in relation to the scope of the performance audit should be considered. The term performance audit is defined in the audit resolution as an “independent assessment” of the performance of the Engineering Services Department.
We were glad to be a part of the process to help the Audit Advisory Board determine the scope of the audit for Engineering Services. I am hopeful that the Board will include LIBA’s suggestions in the audit.
LIBA studies and promotes these types of issues that are important to businesses and our community. If you have an interest in joining LIBA, please call me at 466-3419. LIBA membership is not restricted to just businesses. We also have “individual” memberships for those who want to help influence our local government decisions.
Additonal information about the Lincoln Independent Business Association can be found at www.liba.org.
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