Coral Gables Finance Department Audit–Symptoms of Mismanagement and Indifference

The Finance Department of the city of Coral Gables was treated in an article in the Coral Gables Gazette on September.

Also, in a letter to the CGGazette, a former candidate for commissioner calls for the resignation of the Finance Department head.

The Finance Department problems are clearly revealed in the recently concluded report of the internal auditor of the city of Coral Gables.  The audit process was initiated in 2009, a first round of comments and recommendations was submitted for review and responded to by the Finance Department.  Subsequently, the city’s Internal Auditor prepared rebutal statements for unfulfilled recommendations and submitted the final report to management in September 2010.

The internal functional review of operations by the city of Coral Gables Chief Compliance Auditor (who works for the city manager)  confirms

  • dramatic dysfunctional management oversight ofoperations and control over the city budget, income and expenditures;
  • a persistent failure to review and balance accounts on time and correctly;
  • incomplete standard financial controls to avoid possible misuse or malversion of funds;
  • incomplete department-wide  information coverage and access via the EDEN software;
  • serious deficiencies in communications between management and staff and among departments;
  • defects in the EDEN financial module that the Finance Department hasn’t resolved;
  • consistent failure of management to supervise and give oversight to accounting review and information flows;
  • inadequate oversight over maintain current and consistent information flows among departments;
  • lack of efficient, integrated use of the IT systems of the city, among many others.

One may conclude that there is a top down management culture and weak communications within the Finance Department among staff and supervisors. The EDEN accounting software is incomplete, not fully applied and subject to incomplete supervision by the IT Department and the Finance Department supervisors.  The audit raised claims by both departments that the other is to blame for the break down in accounting.  This shifting of blame has led to an obvious failure to communicate from bottom to top between the two departments.

There are too many issues to discuss in a single posting and I hope to expand on this in coming days.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

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