Long Beach City Auditor Laura Doud released the 2017 Annual Workplan and Accomplishments Report Wednesday, March 1, detailing findings from 2016 audits and planned audits for this year.
During the 2016 year, Doud and her team of 17 conducted 14 audits, covering 12 city departments, according to the report.
The June 2016 Park Maintenance Audit Report found that while the city added new parks and improved existing parks, it did not increase funding needed to maintain the land.
Maintenance for the city’s parks is awarded to private contractors, who are charged with caring for more than 29,500 trees and close to 2,000 acres of land. The Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Department oversees the contractors and approves payments of over $3.1 million to them annually.
However, the City Auditor’s Office found that the city’s focus on expanding parks without increasing necessary maintenance funding, paired with factors such as state mandates on water reduction, resulted in declining conditions for the park’s trees.
The report found that one in four park trees are dead or in poor or critical condition and that failing irrigation systems contributed to standing water and inconsistent irrigation of the grounds.
As a result of the published findings, funding was allocated to parks that previously had not received it.
In total, the 14 audits involved $45 million in city assets and produced 170 recommendations.
Additionally, Doud and her staff were awarded the Distinguished Knighton Award for Excellence in Auditing for the 2015 Public Safety Dispatch Audit Report.
This is the fourth time the office has received this award.
For this year, the City Auditor’s Office announced it “will focus on audits that directly affect the activities of everyday life in the community.” This will include examining the city’s animal care program and library services, implementing new technology to locate risk areas and promoting the City Auditor’s Fraud Hotline.
According to the 2017 report, the hotline received 51 tips within the past year regarding fraud, waste and abuse against the City of Long Beach.
The fraud hotline can be reached via telephone, the city auditor’s website and the MyAuditor app.
“I expect 2017 to be another successful year, performing audits that have the potential to improve our quality of life in Long Beach,” Doud said in a statement. “We also will continue to communicate with the public about the value of our work on their behalf to make City operations more efficient and effective.”