News Flash

2018 City News Releases

Posted on: September 27, 2018

Accounting firm completes audits of PII, fee study processes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


RubinBrown Certified Accountants & Business Consultants presented audits of the City’s processes to obtain, store and dispose of personally identifiable information (PII), and conduct fee studies at the Sept. 12 Finance and Administration Committee meeting.  


The audits are part of a three-year audit plan approved by City Council in 2014. All City of Springfield audits can be viewed at springfieldmo.gov/opendata.


Based on RubinBrown’s review, the City has adequate internal controls for PII and fee studies, but identified a few process-improvement opportunities for each.


Personally Identifiable Information Audit Report

The audit was completed in November 2017 and included policies and procedures in place from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.


Best practices

  • The Human Resources and Finance departments recently implemented physical access restrictions to the departments by using electronic badges.
  • Most departments use a third-party shredding company.
  • Some departments have strong redaction procedures. For instance, the Parks department has a redaction marker, which completely obscures sensitive information.


Process Improvement Opportunities

RubinBrown noted the following process improvement opportunities during its review. The observations are not considered internal control weaknesses; however, the firm recommends City management consider each observation and take action where appropriate.

  • After implementing a comprehensive policy on PII, train employees on the policy every two to three years.
  • Each department should ensure that cabinets and file rooms that contain PII are kept locked except when in use.
  • Include a sentence on certain Health and Risk Management department forms that indicates information collected could be released in the event of a health emergency (Health Department) or an insurance claim (Risk Management).
  • Investigate the cost/benefit of implementing electronic key pads for clients to provide Social Security numbers or consider other ways to mitigate the risk of providing SSNs orally at the Municipal Court.

 

Fee Study Process Audit Report

To ensure the City of Springfield does not violate the Hancock Amendment, the Finance Department executes an annual fee study analysis. This analysis is presented to City Council each year prior to the fees being approved.

The audit was complete in February and covers transactions from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017.


Best Practices

  • Biannually, Legal performs a review of all fees in the fee study to ensure there is an accompanying local ordinance allowing the use of the fee.
  • The Finance Department consults with Legal to ensure new fees are allowed by the local ordinance.
  • The Finance Department has a documented timeline of the fee study process with due dates and then tracks the actual completion date.


Process Improvement Opportunities

RubinBrown noted the following process improvement opportunities related to system improvements, fee naming conventions and reporting methodology during its review.

  • Each department should be required to return all required cost and time information to the Finance Department using a format prescribed by the Finance Department. In addition, the Finance Department should identify one contact within each department to help facilitate the process.
  • Automation of the fee study process should be evaluated while considering the cost of the implementation along with any future plans, such as new system implementations (Infor).
  • The Finance Department should consider changing the format of the fee study report to look similar to the Parks Department.
  • Review fee names with departments to ensure that all naming aligns across departments. This will allow for more efficiency and less confusion in communications. Consider adding an index number to ensure uniform naming and to reduce confusion among the different stakeholders in the process.

Zone 3 Councilman Mike Schilling is the chair of City Council's Finance and Administration Committee, which reviewed the audits.


“Internal audits provide important information to the City’s leadership team, as well as accountability to the taxpayers,” Schilling said. The other members of the committee are general councilmen Craig Hosmer and Richard Ollis and Zone 4 Councilman Matthew Simpson.


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For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), cscott@springfieldmo.gov.


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