Jan 31, 2017
Enforcement of Prevailing Wage Improved
I’ll start with two victories for our Prevailing Wage Division that were months –even years– in the making. Although I wasn’t very familiar with the administration of prevailing wage when I was elected, it quickly became clear to me that many problems were the result of the City’s 66-year-old ordinance. Delegates from the employer and labor communities were selected to serve on a working group that hammered out the details of an updated ordinance. Our package of revisions was approved unanimously by the Denver City Council in November. Going forward, members of the working group will serve as an advisory body to me on prevailing wage enforcement, giving us the opportunity to resolve classification and other disputes promptly and efficiently.
This victory was followed by the biggest settlement on a prevailing wage dispute ever experienced in the Auditor’s Office. Just before Thanksgiving, I had the heartwarming pleasure of handing out checks totaling $558,000 to former Denver International Airport shuttle bus drivers who had been underpaid for years.
Our internal and contract compliance audits also had an impact. Our Rocky Mountain Human Services audit won the 2015 Exemplary Knighton Award from the Association of Local Government Auditors, its top prize. Our audit on Disability Parking Enforcement resulted in the hiring of three new officials to enforce disabled parking in the 2017 budget. In an audit of Community Policing, we recommended that police collect demographic data on officer-initiated stops to demonstrate compliance with the Denver Police Department’s own Biased-Policing Policy and to assure residents that the DPD does not engage in discriminatory traffic and pedestrian stops. Six months later community pressure led the DPD to adopt our recommendations. We also investigated risks associated with our ever-increasing reliance on technology. As a result of an audit on Personally Identifiable Information, the Technology Services department convened an Information Governance Committee to establish a strategic framework for protecting such information. We see our investigation of cyber security as an ongoing process to keep pace with technological advances.
Monthly e-newsletters, Facebook posts and media releases were among the ways I kept in touch with constituents this year. In addition, I made presentations at dozens of community meetings, several career fairs, and numerous college classes. I held a series of open houses – “Ten Minutes With Tim” – to get to know city employees. While not every issue I learn about will become the subject of an audit, residents and employees provide valuable information about what is and what is not working in our City.
Our 2017 Audit Plan gives you an idea of what I have planned for this year. An increase in my budget was approved to allow the hiring of financial audit managers, a “big-data” analyst, and additional prevailing wage auditors to keep on top of new City construction projects. In keeping with my intention to tap the expertise of the local audit and accounting community, I have executed on-call contracts that will allow me to hire private firms to conduct audits where their specific expertise is needed. I also want to strengthen our association with local colleges and universities by offering internships and entry-level auditor positions.
2016 was a rewarding year, and I’m grateful for the support from the community that has allowed me to serve Denver in this way. As always, I look forward to continuing to receive feedback and ideas to increase the effectiveness and impact of the Denver Auditor’s Office.