Measures M & N Performance Audits, Summer Interns and More...
July 14, 2011
CR Crop
Office of the City Auditor
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 4th Floor
Oakland, California 94612
www.oaklandauditor.com
(510) 238-3378
Dear
Oaklanders,

Today I would like to share with you two audits analyzing the usage of your tax dollars for the Emergency Medical Services Retention Act of 1997 (Measure M - click here to read report) and the Paramedic Services Act of 1997 (Measure N - click here to read report).

The audits focused on whether or not the proceeds from the Measures were properly disbursed in accordance with the ballot measure and if the Administration implemented the 2008 audit recommendations.

Key findings include:

  • Both the Measure M and N audits found that, when disbursed, the proceeds were in accordance with the Measures.
  • Measure N's Fund balance had grown by 50 percent and that the City did not take steps to reduce the Fund balance and establish an appropriate reserve, as was recommended in the 2008 audit.
  • The Administration reduced the Measure M Fund balance, as was recommended in the 2008 audit, but failed to establish a reserve policy.
  • Oakland Fire Department's (OFD) Projected Balance and Spending Plan for both Measure M and N did not accurately project or otherwise account for Measures' fund balances, though OFD did possess valid reasons for maintaining a portion of the fund balance.

For each of the last ten years, City staff has continually requested that the City Council approve an increase on Oakland taxpayers despite a Measure N Fund balance of $2.1 million (FY 2009-10) - $1 million above OFD's identified needs. 

 

These are your tax dollars. Your elected leadership needs to hear from you. To find a list of your elected City leadership, click here

 

 

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT - AUGUST 2ND 

 

National Night Out LogoSummer is rapidly buzzing by and before we know it, National Night Out will have arrived.  On August 2nd, I and members of your Auditor's team will be traversing Oakland and visiting many National Night Out neighborhood parties.

 

If you'd like me to come to your neighborhood National Night Out celebration, email Joe Macaluso at jmacaluso@oaklandnet.com or call him at (510) 238-3379. 

 
To register an event in your neighborhood, go to www2.oaklandnet.com/nno or call (510) 238-3091. The City is giving registered organizers pencils, removable tattoos, stickers and caution tape (to legally block off streets).

 

SUMMER INTERNS 

 

This summer, we have been fortunate to have five terrific interns volunteering in our Office. Nicole Costen has returned for her second summer to assist with  administration projects, and Megan Layne, Mareesa Valentine and Superina Reese have been incredible assets to our communications and community outreach programs.

I'd also like to recognize Ashley Green for her amazing contribution to our intern program and the City of Oakland. Ashley joined our Office as a volunteer communications intern shortly after the New Year and has been a phenomenal addition to our team since her first day on the job. We wish her all the best as she embarks on her promising professional career.  


Committed to serving you with the utmost integrity,


Sign Full

COURTNEY A. RUBY, CPA, CFE

City Auditor
 
Tree Red
NEWS RELEASE
Office of the City Auditor
City of Oakland
____________________________________________________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 14, 2011


Audits Find Oakland Accumulated Funds for Emergency Services Despite Voter Mandate to Spend

Audits recommended that the City take steps to reduce the Fund balance and establish an appropriate reserve - noting that, when disbursed, the proceeds were in accordance with the Measures

 

OAKLAND, Calif. (July 14, 2011): Today Oakland City Auditor Ruby released two performance audits analyzing the City's use of parcel tax proceeds from the Emergency Medical Services Retention Act of 1997 (Measure M) and the Paramedic Services Act of 1997 (Measure N). The audits focused on whether or not the proceeds from the Measures were properly disbursed in accordance with the ballot measure and if the Administration implemented the 2008 audit recommendations.

 

The Measure N audit found that the Measure's Fund balance had grown by 50 percent and that the City did not take steps to reduce the Fund balance and establish an appropriate reserve, as was recommended in the 2008 audit. However, for each of the last ten years, City staff requested that City Council approve an increase on taxpayers despite a Fund balance with a peak of $2.1 million in FY 2009-10 ($1 million above Oakland Fire Department's identified needs). For Measure M, the Administration reduced the Fund balance, as was recommended in the 2008 audit but failed to establish a reserve policy. Both the Measure M and N audits found that, when disbursed, the proceeds were in accordance with the Measures.

 

"It is not in Oakland residents' best interest for the City to accumulate special tax funds when the General Fund is overburdened to the point Oakland is reducing city services and laying-off City employees," said City Auditor Ruby. "As the City struggles with record deficits, ballooning pension liabilities and an aging infrastructure in dire need of repair, the Administration now more than ever should be committed to ensuring policies and procedures are in place and operating, reassuring the public that their parcel tax dollars are being utilized in a timely manner."

 

Ballot measures are designed specifically to address the public's desire to fund certain services annually; the continued practice of increasing the Measure N fund balance and not expending voter-approved monies was inconsistent with the intent of Measure N. For both Measure M and N, the audit found that Oakland Fire Department's (OFD) Projected Balance and Spending Plan did not accurately project or otherwise account for Measures' fund balances, though OFD did possess valid reasons for maintaining a portion of the fund balance.

 

"We are in extraordinary times, and yet these audits highlight the Administration's choice to abandon management systems. This approach does not reassure the public that their tax dollars are being monitored appropriately or that the intents of Measure M and N are being met." City Auditor Ruby concluded, "If the City wants to show voters it's serious about managing parcel tax dollars, addressing these audits' recommendations is a first step in reestablishing the public's trust."

 

In 1997, the voters of the City of Oakland passed Measure N, which imposed a special tax on all parcels in the City to raise the necessary revenue to increase, enhance, and support paramedic services in the City. Voters also passed Measure M in 1997, which imposed a special tax on all parcels in the City to raise the necessary revenue to retain and enhance emergency medical services.

 

For copies of the reports, visit: www.OaklandAuditor.com.

 

ABOUT OAKLAND CITY AUDITOR RUBY

City Auditor Courtney A. Ruby, CPA, CFE, took office in January 2007 and was reelected November 2, 2010. Performance audits of the Fox Theater Renovation Project, Oakland Police Department, Parking Department, Online Payment, and Accounts Payable are in progress. Earlier audits reviewed the City's hiring practices, public campaign financing, funding for children and youth services, library services, CEDA and PWA receivable series, Public Works Agency and the grant management for the Measure Y Violence Prevention Programs. In March 2010, an Association of Local Government Auditors peer review team found the Office of the City Auditor met the highest government standards in performance auditing. Visit www.OaklandAuditor.com to learn more about Oakland's Office of the City Auditor.

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