DENVER – Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA, and members of his audit team are honored to accept a top auditing award from the Association of Local Government Auditors for the 2020 “Neighborhood Sidewalk Repair Program” audit.
“I am proud of the work my team did on this audit, which identified ways the city could be more accessible and more equitable when it comes to a public resource everyone uses,” Auditor O’Brien said. “An award like this truly shows the people we serve that we are doing the best work on their behalf.”
The sidewalk report was recognized with the first place “Exemplary” Knighton Award for the best performance audit of the year in an audit shop of our size. The Association of Local Government Auditors — which has several hundred member organizations across the U.S. and Canada — uses several criteria for good auditing to select the annual winners:
- The potential for significant impact in the community.
- Persuasive, logical, and firmly supported conclusions.
- Feasible recommendations that will make government programs more effective and efficient.
- Clear and concise communication.
Winners of the award must also show they use appropriate research methods and tools and that they are responsive to the needs and concerns of decision-makers and the public.
Knighton Award judges noted the sidewalk repair audit’s relevance for both the public and decision-makers in the City and County of Denver. The association said: “The judges were impressed with the clarity of the report and its effective visual presentation, allowing the reader to easily follow and understand the issues on hand and the potential impact of the recommendations, which address the program’s efficiency and effectiveness.”
“My team works every day to use sound auditing techniques and plain language to complete reports that will be useful in informing the public about what’s going on in their government and also explaining areas of concern to city leaders,” Auditor O’Brien said.
The sidewalk repair audit team found the city was likely to take decades longer than planned to complete repairs of sidewalks in all Denver neighborhoods if it continued at its current pace. The audit examined how the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure designed the program starting in 2018 and how relatively few inspections and repairs for sidewalks have been implemented since then.
City leaders chose not to require compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act guidance in the program’s rules and regulations. City officials also severely underestimated how many sidewalks would need repairs and how many Denver homeowners would need to pay for repairs.
The department agreed with all of our recommendations.
The audit team who completed the project included Audit Director Katja Freeman, Audit Supervisor Kharis Eppstein, Lead Auditor Shaun Wysong, Senior Auditor Darrell Finke, Associate Auditor Daniel Summers, and Associate Auditor Megan Kelly.
“I am proud of the members of this audit team who were thoughtful in their work and ensured our final product was held to the highest professional standards,” Auditor O’Brien said.
This is the fourth Knighton Award for Auditor O’Brien and his office since 2015 — and the second “Exemplary Award.” The annual awards program allows audit teams working in local government across the U.S. and Canada to compare the top work, and it identifies examples of the best reports that other organizations can look to when designing their own audit programs.