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Cultural arts contract monitoring lauded

Thursday, September 27, 2018 by Jo Clifton

The Office of the City Auditor found little to criticize when it audited the administration of cultural arts contracts by the Economic Development Department’s Cultural Arts Division. The division monitors contracts between the city and cultural arts contractors. The City Council Audit and Finance Committee was pleased to accept the audit report on Wednesday indicating that the division generally follows best practices. The audit was not related to the more controversial question of who gets funding, but auditors did say that the division does not document its process for selecting contracts to review. “Without a consistent risk-based process for selecting contracts, the division may not monitor higher-risk contracts,” auditors noted. Division staff told auditors that they do consider risk factors, such as whether a contractor is new to the program. Auditors also noted that the division does not require its staff “to verify the accuracy of the information provided in the final reports and expense reports.” In addition, auditors said that the department reports audience numbers provided by the contractors as a measure of performance, as opposed to verifying those numbers. Auditors also said that three of the programs are not using a contract template developed by the Law Department, causing some concern that the city’s interests might not be protected, particularly if the city wanted to terminate the contracts. Management agreed with the audit’s findings and has plans to implement changes.

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