San Jose saved more than $1 million by strengthening controls over its environmental services contracts. Street sweeping has become more efficient now that the city uses an electronic system to monitor routes and track physical barriers such as low ranches and damaged pavement. And although taxpayers still subsidize the city’s golf courses, ramped-up marketing boosted revenue by attracting more customers.
The city has saved time and money by closing 42 recommendations from City Auditor Sharon Erickson in the past six months. But there’s a lot more work to be done, with 151 recommendations only partly addressed and 56 still open, according to a status report coming before the City Council on Tuesday.
“When implemented, a majority of those recommendations will improve operational efficiency of city departments,” the report reads. “Others will improve transparency and accountability, or improve service delivery. Others will help secure city assets.”
Erickson suggests prioritizing the following four issues that deal with basic internal controls.
- The city needs to create an agency-wide security policy to protect credit card numbers, other sensitive information and to have a process in place to recover data in case of emergency.
- To better manage off-duty police work, the San Jose Police Department needs to bolster oversight of its secondary employment program. Twenty-one of the 30 recommendations handed down in a 2012 report have yet to be enacted.
- The Office of Economic Development has yet to update its backlog of expired city leases, a problem identified in a 2008 report.
- To better respond and follow-up on injuries that cost the city about $9 million a year, the San Jose Fire Department plans to hire a safety officer this fall. But seven other recommendations from a 2012 audit on fire department injuries have yet to be implemented.
Meanwhile, 10 recommendations that were previously made a priority are still pending, including a plan to quicken firefighters’ emergency response times and assess staffing to make sure the city is keeping up with fire inspections.
The potential budget savings from 25 open recommendations amounts to $11.6 million, according to Erickson’s status report.
Following up on overdue accounts in the San Jose Fire Department would save $1.2 million. Obtaining software to conduct payroll reviews in the Office of Equality Assurance would save $300,000. Renegotiating an integration agreement with the Santa Clara Valley Water District would save an estimated $2.8 million.
Reducing overtime for supervisors would save $1.6 million, requiring employees to lower compensatory time would cut $1.1 million and reviewing cellphone billing could save $200,000. And a recommendation to eliminate the public art requirement for underground utility projects stands to save the city $2.2 million.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for March 27, 2018:
- The council will consider paying $1.4 million to the Northern California Power Authority over two years to help the city manage its new sustainable power plan, called San Jose Clean Energy.
- The city plans to ask Santa Clara County for a $1 million in grant to build a playground that’s accessible to disabled kids at Alum Rock Park. That grant money will supplement $4 million the city plans to spend on inclusive playgrounds at other sites, too, including Emma Prusch Farm and Lincoln Glen parks.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260