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Pointing Fingers at City Audit Committee

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San Diego city council members question why regular city audits didn’t catch the generous bonuses that staff awarded themselves at the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation. KPBS reporter Ali

Pointing Fingers at City Audit Committee

(Photo: San Diego City Councilman Tony Young (L), speaks at the city's audit committee, chaired by Kevin Faulconer (R). Alison St John/KPBS )

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San Diego city council members question why regular city audits didn’t catch the generous bonuses that staff awarded themselves at the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation. Councilmembers  want recommendations to address changes at city hall, as well as at SEDC. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Robert Lawrence is one of the new board members the mayor has appointed to shepherd through reforms at the development corporation. Lawrence says if the city’s annual audits didn’t catch the fraud, how can board members be epxected to catch problems.

Lawrence : They could not get clear answers on several questions and so I ask you what chance to do we as ordinary members of the public, have in getting those answers?

City auditors say financial audits are only as good as the financial controls in place.

The city council’s Independent Budget Analyst, Andrea Tevlin, says the city’s financial and policy controls are not clear.

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Tevlin : It’s really the elephant in the room so to speak. We’ve identified the issues at SEDC, but we really need to understand who’s in charge here at the city. 

Councilman Tony Young represents neighborhoods where SEDC operates. He says he doesn’t want the development corporations disbanded. He wants city oversight improved. 

And he says, that also goes for oversight of other, bigger independent corporations doing business for the city.   

Young: So I want to warn the public to be aware and concerned that it’s not just here, it’s not just SEDC,  that’s just human nature and that’s what will happen if you don’t pay attention.

Young says the city’s internal audit department has grown from 3 to 9 people and needs to triple to keep up with audit requirements.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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