Monday, October 27, 2008

Snow Flurries

Snow Flurries

“Snow is what you are up to your neck in when people send you post cards from Florida saying they wish you were there.”

Ogden Nash’s old line summarized how I and other members of the City of Denver’s Audit Committee felt after briefing on our audit finding internal control weaknesses at Denver International Airport dealing with the time accountability of snow removal program.

This comment made about as much sense as the answer from the airport administration on the snow removal audit. Snow job.

One Committee member expressed his outrage at the lack of internal controls in the program and asked pointedly, “Do you think the actions of DIA employees misusing dollars were willful?” The two auditors who worked on the audit replied, “Willful.”

Two issues add to the frustration of Audit Committee member and the Auditor’s Office on this audit:

Firstly, early written comments from airport management said they agreed with findings in the audit. But after the committee hearing, another official voice from the airport announced they did not agree with audit findings which auditors felt strongly should be turned over to the District Attorney for review. Everything is just fine, pass the white out.

Secondly a DIA spokesman, responding to a Committee members's use of the words 'misuse of tax dollars’ drew a fine distinction about airport dollars. For some reason the airport representative felt the need to remind committee members that the Airport was an Enterprise Fund. The unspoken implication of the distinction was that there is a difference in accountability for dollars extracted from people by the city operating as an airport compared to dollars extracted from citizens for general government purposes. I objected to this distinction and said there should be no difference in accountability concerning “public” dollars whatever their source.

We hope the airport can land on its feet after the initial slipping and sliding around on this issue. Working together I hope we can eventually land on the sunny side of the snowdrift on this issue.

I encourage readers to check the Auditor’s Webpage to see the full audit recommendations.

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