Audit Division Completes Corrective Action Plan
Numerous reform initiatives in place to restore professionalism to the Office of Erie County Comptroller
(Buffalo) – The Audit Division within the Office of Erie County Comptroller has completed a corrective action plan to address and correct numerous deficiencies discovered when Stefan I. Mychajliw took office on January 1st, 2013. One of the first “top to bottom” reviews conducted by the Erie County Comptroller was of his own office, which identified serious problems pertaining to the lack of professional standards going back many years.
Many deficiencies, risks, and concerns within the Audit Division were identified by the Comptroller’s Office review that was released on January 18th, 2013. An Erie County Comptroller’s Office Division of Audit and Control Quality Assurance Review identified a total of eleven deficiencies and have now implemented and are in the process of implementing 23 corrective action items to fix problems.
Some of the key findings and the corrective action taken were outlined in a report from the Division of Audit to Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw. Some key measures include:
Finding: No Audit Plan filed since 1988
Corrective Action: Deputy Comptroller for Audit completed a final Audit Plan to assign auditors assignments with concrete benchmarks, goals, and accountability standards for when work needs to be completed. Under previous Erie County Comptrollers, supervisors told workers what to audit not based on a formal Audit Plan, and without accountable time frames on when audits needed to be completed.
Finding: No employee evaluations for auditors
Correction Action: Project performance evaluations for audit staff were designed and completed. A formal survey was also completed to receive feedback from auditors. Annual worker evaluations/reviews will also take place, something that was not done in the past, even though employee raises should be determined based on an annual review.
Finding: A complete Audit Manual has not been completed since 1992
Corrective Action: While the department Audit Manual was briefly updated in 2009, a complete Audit Manual has not been finalized for more than 20 years. This is critically important because office policies and procedures are based on the Audit Manual. Audit staff is currently working on the completion of the Audit Manual by the end of the year.
Finding: Supervisors were never assigned for each audit
Corrective Action: Now one member of audit staff is assigned as a supervisor for each audit to ensure benchmarks and accountability standards set out in the Audit Plan are met.
Finding: No accountability for staff when working on audits
Corrective Action: Auditors now submit detailed time sheets outlining all of their work on audits; the Deputy Comptroller conducts bi-weekly staff meetings with the entire team, and individual meetings with auditors every two weeks.
Finding: No documentation to support ongoing professional continuing education for auditors
Corrective Action: Auditors are now given time throughout the year to complete the required 24 hours of continuing education, which will be documented, unlike previous years.
Other reform initiatives put in place by the Office of Erie County Comptroller was to hire a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to lead the Audit Division for the first time since 2006. The appointment of CPA Teresa Fraas to the position of Deputy Comptroller for Audit also marks the first time in county history a woman served in that capacity.