CLEVELAND - The Cuyahoga County Auditor's Office is overstaffed, overpaid and less efficient than similar offices in comparable counties. That was the conclusion of a performance audit released Tuesday by Ohio State Auditor Mary Taylor.
The audit, done at the joint request of Cuyahoga County Commissioners and the County auditor's office, made nearly two dozen recommendations that Taylor says would save county taxpayers more than $2.3 million.
"Cuyahoga County taxpayers deserve well organized and efficient government services," said Taylor. "This report can serve as a guide to charter government officials as they organize the county's new fiscal office following their election this November.
Primary among the recommendations, were reducing staff, requiring workers to put in a full 40-hour work week, establishing formal hiring practices, developing formal job descriptions with a salary structure that reflects the requirements of each job and requiring the use of a competitive bid process when making purchases over $25,000.
"We're actually pleased with the state recommendations," said Destin Ramsey, executive assistant in the County auditor's office.
The delight lies in the fact that the office has worked to address many of the issues mentioned in the report before it even came out.
"This audit was a snapshot in time it wasn't an up to date situation and we wanted to give the taxpayers an up-to-date look at where we're at as an office and how we function on a daily basis," said Ramsey, outlining the reductions in both staff and costs that have come about over the last two years.
That includes the competitive bid process.
"As a county those issues were addressed as of July 1st of 2009," Ramsey said. "There’s a new computer system in place, there’s new policies and procedures in place to make the situation more transparent and more open."
The audit was meant as a guideline for the new county government that will take office in January. As part of the overall restructuring the position of auditor will no longer be an elected one.
One of the points the new executive and council will need to take up concerns the point raised in the audit in regards to the number of hours auditor employees work.
"We're not the only county agency that does not work a 40-hour work week, so it's really not an issue that should be addressed with us," said Ramsey. "I think it's something that can be addressed county-wide."
Above all Ramsey wanted to stress is don't paint the entire Auditor's office with the same broad brush.
"Just because of a few employees or a few workers do things that aren't up to par that doesn't mean that everyone is that way down here. They are really a lot of good hard working people here."
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