Entries Tagged 'Audit' ↓

Rose Grant. Elect an Auditor, Auditor

A Democratic candidate for Minnehaha County Auditor, Rose Grant will be running. Rose serves on the City of Sioux Falls Audit Advisory Committee, and has practiced as a CPA in Sioux Falls since 2000. She worked with East, VanDerWoudie and currently with her own firm Grant & Williams.


Sloppy Executive Order Management?

You can read the Audit Committee’s conclusion on Sioux Falls City Hall’s handling of executive orders: (DOC: Exec-order)

While they don’t use the word ‘Sloppy’ it’s kind of obvious.

Here are some highlights;


The City does not currently have a centralized process in place for maintaining written policies and procedures.


We interviewed management, reviewed a sample of Executive Orders and written policies and procedures, and researched best practices for policy maintenance. We identified the following best practices for policy maintenance:

• Policies should be consolidated, maintained, and managed in a centralized location

• Policies should be kept current and changes should be communicated timely

• Policies should have an official custodian

• Employees should attest to policies and procedures that guide their job duties

Policies and Procedures

We found that policies and procedures are accurate and up-to-date, with a few exceptions. We also determined that routine maintenance and employee access could be improved. Following are the results of our testing.

• We found no references to incorrect or outdated fees.

• We noted 6 documents that made references to specific employee names instead of job titles.

• We identified 4 documents that included either outdated references, outdated processes, unnecessary requirements, or conflicting information.

• Of the 273 total documents gathered, 35 (13%) documents are more than 5 years old and 9 (16%) documents are more than 10 years old.

• 23 documents did not have a date listed regarding when it was either created, last reviewed, or last updated.

• Policies and procedures are stored in different areas. Some departments store their policies and procedures on their own shared site on InSite and some departments store them on the department’s shared network drive. In both situations, employees must be granted access to be able to view them.

• There is currently no overarching procedure for maintaining departmental policies and procedures. Each department is ultimately responsible for their own maintenance responsibilities and maintenance schedule. Maintenance of policies and procedures vary widely across all departments.


We made the following recommendation to address the results above.

1) We recommend the City establish and document a plan for managing the approval, issuance, and revision of internal policies and procedures. This should include defining a custodian at the departmental level, requiring scheduled reviews that are dated and initialed to demonstrate completion, and requiring policies to be maintained in an easily accessible, centralized location.


The following are opportunities for improvement that were identified during the course of the audit. These opportunities will provide oversight to the policy and procedure documentation processes.

City management should continue to work toward documenting, in writing, policies and procedures that guide specific job roles in the organization. Additionally, policies and procedures should be consolidated as much as practicable to eliminate duplication or unnecessary documents.

Management should consider adding an attestation section to the employee performance evaluation to obtain annual certification from employee’s that they have been trained and understand departmental policies in addition to the certification that they have reviewed the Executive Orders identified in the policy review checklist.

The City should consider providing a formal ethics training for all employees on a recurring basis. The last citywide ethics training was conducted in December 2007. Additionally, the City’s fraud hotline should be more publicized on the City’s intranet so that all employees are aware of how to report fraudulent, illegal, or unethical activities.

UPDATE: City of Sioux Falls Audit Committee to test open government

UPDATE: What’s that saying about messing up a . . . oh nevermind, Fiddle Faddle was at it again putting the Kabosh on the open records audit, basically saying there just isn’t enough staff to look over 1.5 million hits on the website, while Erpenbach partook in the poo-poo session, she even mentioned that there is software that can handle that stuff. Fiddle made it sound like FOI requests don’t happen very often, so the audit wasn’t necessary. Erpenbach suggested they audit parking instead. If I was there, I would have suggested an audit of the Building Services department for not investigating construction companies doing work without permits.

The Audit Committee has set the agenda for 2017, and it is a big one. The above one should be interesting. See the whole agenda; (DOC: audit-2017 )

UPDATE: New internal Auditor rolling in, not so fast

At the Audit Committee meeting, the new auditor, Kim Schroeder was to be confirmed. Her appointment was deferred to the next audit meeting (which I would assume would not be until February).

It was an interesting path to get here;

“The chair has made a concerted effort to improve communication throughout the process,” Neitzert said. “I was able to see how the process worked and I think Councilor Rolfing had heard that criticism and he’s tried to get messages out as the process moved along.”

While Bill O’Toole, human resources director for the city, wouldn’t say if Schroeder was among those who originally applied for the position, he said his office received 10 more applications during the second phase of the hiring search.

The ‘unofficial’ background noise is that an original pick for the job turned down the position, and since Kim had already applied they re-interviewed her for the position. There’s a lot of other ‘unofficial’ horse trading that went on, that I won’t get into, but I will say this, many of the councilors have expressed optimism with Schroeder and were very happy with the pick. A couple I have spoke to were surprised there was a sudden change in course, the council was not made aware of this deferral until a couple of minutes before the audit meeting by chair Rolfing.

Makes you wonder who was ‘changing the thermostat’ on this deal?


All ‘Councilors’ should be involved in the hiring of a new internal auditor


Trust me, I will find us a new auditor.

This is what happens when you don’t involve everyone;

A hiring committee looking to fill long-time internal auditor Rich Oksol’s position is headed back to the drawing board after passing on more than a dozen candidates who wanted job.

Yet councilors didn’t get to see these candidates resumes or interview them;

But the process in which the hiring search is being conducted isn’t sitting well with some city officials who say they’re being left out of the process.

Councilor Theresa Stehly said aside from councilors serving on the three-member search committee, which is composed of Rolfing, Council vice-chair Rick Kiley and one at-large member of the audit committee, the council has been kept in the dark regarding the hiring search.

“I was under the assumption that when we hired someone new there would be several resumes to review – or at the very least we’d review the top three or four and maybe interview those people,” she said. “But I don’t think that’s how this is playing out.”

Although the final selection does require approval from the full council, Stehly said the search committee will make a selection and ask the Council for an up or down vote of approval.

So what is Rolfing’s response to the lack of transparency and due process;

No matter what that ends up looking like, it’s not likely to include every city council member in the process, he said.

“We’re in the process of developing that so there won’t be any questions later on,” he said. “It’s not something that you do with eight or 10 people on a committee. It just doesn’t work well that way.”

How would you know if you never tried it? This clown will say anything to protect the secrecy of this appointment.

When will the Sioux Falls City Council make the big announcement?


It interesting that after two executive sessions on narrowing down a candidate for the internal auditor position, there has been NO announcements or confirmation that someone has been chosen.

The deafening silence coming from council leadership isn’t helping either.

You wonder if the dirt fools controlling the process were too quick to put all of their eggs in one basket, and the basket fell off of Humpty Dumpty’s wall?

Sometimes Fascism backfires.

An audit on the Events Center?


This audit is similar to wiping your butt 8 hours after you took a crap . . . but I will keep an open mind 😉

Should we have a Events Center Construction Audit?

After many EC contractors I have spoken with told me about some of the stupid change orders, I think an audit would be wise.

And BTW, thanks Rex! We’ve been sitting here taking in your church dirt example of construction billing fraud. Interesting parallels to Kermit’s construction cost and labor questions at the Denny.

With an over budget indoor pool being built in the same billing method as the Denny, we need to really work the audit process. How many hidden dirt piles are we paying for? How may phantom employees did we pay?

If the siding came in under budget and we have thousands of gallons of water ready to flow through the walls, who audits the construction process? Every contractor willing to talk off the record (you know they won’t go on the record and survive in this town) says the siding was installed incorrectly. How do we get it audited?

Has Mortenson been paid everything? What’s the story on MJ Dalsin?

BTW, if any of our workers, builders and suppliers want to continue helping us with this construction audit, drop us a line. You will not be the only source for the answers to the questions we have. For those who have helped so, thank you. We are not done looking for the answers to the $117,000,000.00 questions.

So thanks again Rex for helping with the right answers to Kermit’s audit requests. We hope your church was able to settle the dirt.

City collected $300K in ticket/parking fees at Events Center Site.

Today at the Audit Committee meeting of the SF City Council they will have an item in it about ticket/parking fees at the entertainment complex (EC, CC, Arena, Canaries Stadium) DOC (TicketParking)

While the city does raise quite a bit, I think the fee should be higher to help cover maintenance more. Dare I suggest $2 a ticket? When you have people pay hundreds of dollars per ticket to the artist/promoter or scalper, I think $2 per ticket is nothing;


Approximately $300,000 in Public Facility Ticket Fees were collected in 2014. The Public Facility Ticket Fee is charged on all paid admissions to events at the Events Center, Sioux Falls Arena and Sioux Falls Convention Center and all other sports or entertainment facilities having a fixed seating capacity in excess of 2,500 people. The ticket fee is not charged on events held at facilities owned by any school district, county or non-profit educational or religious institutions. The City currently has agreements with SMG to operate the Events Center, Arena, and Convention Center and with the Sioux Falls Canaries Professional Baseball Club (the Club) to operate the Stadium.


The Public Facility Ticket Fees serve as a way for the City and facility operators to mitigate the cost of maintaining the City’s entertainment and sports venues. Updating the current ordinance and agreements will help simplify the collection and remittance of fees and allow operators the flexibility they need for day to day operations. City management appears to have a good working relationship with both operators and on March 17, 2015 City Council approved a resolution approving the change of control of the Sioux Falls Baseball Stadium Agreement from the Sioux Falls Canaries Professional Baseball Club, LLC to Mankato Baseball, LLC. We would like to thank SMG, the Sioux Falls Canaries, and City management and staff for their cooperation and assistance during the audit.



Is City Incompetence to blame for uncollected landfill fees?

Many people may or may not know that the city has an internal auditor. Mr. Rich Oskol is probably (as I tell many people) one of the most valuable city employees. I have often told city councilors and residents he does a fine job with such a small staff, especially with his enormous workload.

But does Mr. Oskol make mistakes? Not sure, but I would guess once in awhile he misses a decimal point. Accounting isn’t an easy task, especially reviewing other people’s work. It was the only HS course I dropped out of. Maybe that is why it has taken me almost 42 years to get my finances in order?

I think it would be safe to assume that Mr. Oskol and his team have audited the Sioux Falls landfill finances at least once since 2009 (When Dan’s garbage service fees started piling up). If this is the case, did Rich make them aware that they probably should be collecting fees from Dan’s Service because they are mounting? Not sure if he did, but I have read several of Rich’s audits of city departments, if anything, Rich is very thorough. He also has the power, granted to him in the city charter, to look at any department’s books without permission, at any time. He reports only to the city council. If the city council called Rich on Monday morning and asked him to start an audit immediately of the city landfill, all Rich would have to do is walk into their office with a two-wheel cart and haul away the filing cabinets, and that department couldn’t do a damn thing to stop him.

Hopefully that phone call will be made Monday morning.

But there is a bigger issue here. Let’s give Mr. Oskol the benefit of the doubt, and let’s say he did recommend that the uncollected fees troublesome and the Landfill should act immediately, that doesn’t mean they have to. Oskol reviews and advises, he may have the authority to wheel off filing cabinets but he can’t make any department head fix a problem. In fact, I do recall a few times where they didn’t, or they tried a different solution.

So it comes back to a question of competence. Who in the city landfill department, or even in the finance or attorney’s offices let this go for so long? And if they haven’t already been terminated, they probably should be.

Sure we can blame Dan, but that’s a whole other story. I think it would be safe to assume the city will not be able to collect all of those fees. The best approach at this point would be to wipe them off the books and put Dan out of business. A court battle will only drain more city resources and really isn’t worth the effort.

The irony of all this is how the city has handled other cases of uncollected ‘fees and fines’;

• An over 8 year court battle which ended up in Supreme Court (in which the city lost) over a couple hundred dollar fine and a cement pad. I can’t even begin to fathom what that costed taxpayers in city resources to fight. In fact two of the city attorneys who worked on the case have been terminated.

• Jailing a resident for 6 hours over a pile of shingles IN HIS FENCED OFF YARD. (of course the county paid that incarceration and court bill) That person also beat the city in court.

• Fining a city employee’s private business over a dumpster enclosure.

• Warning a retired veteran and his wife about a potential fine if they did not remove day lilies from the boulevard.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking, these are code enforcement issues, but isn’t over $250K in unpaid landfill fees a cause for some kind of authority in city hall to do something about it? How are flowers in the boulevard and piles of shingles more concerning then this enormous amount of unpaid fees?

They are not. It is about city employee’s priorities. They seem to put vindictiveness and vendettas against residents over collecting fees.

If I sat on our city’s fine legislative body, the city council, I would be in an uproar. If you think that department heads are tired of swatting away the flies when it comes to the EC siding, they would see a full on bee attack from me as a councilor.

The city council needs to demand an immediate review and presentation from the landfill department as to how this happened, and how the problem will be corrected  and lastly who will be reprimanded or terminated over the incident. It’s called ACCOUNTABILITY, something city hall thinks they are immune to.

It also makes you wonder if Dan is the only one that has delinquent fines? That’s a whole other can of worms.

As far as I am concerned this may have nothing to do with Mr. Oskol missing a decimal point, this may have to do with blatant and rampant incompetence. Instead of city directors knocking off at 3:50 PM on a Friday afternoon to enjoy a delicious micro brew at that local watering hole*, maybe they need to take an accounting of there day, week, month, heck decade in the final hours of their work week?

*About a month ago I saw four different city directors/managers drinking beers at a downtown bar at this time, and a manager of a city owned entertainment facility. Even more troubling was they weren’t even drinking together (well maybe that isn’t such a bad thing).