Jacksonville Parts Audit Recommends Increased Oversight

June 01, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, FL - A fleet audit conducted by the City of Jacksonville Office of Inspector General found several opportunities for improvement. It called for increased oversight of procurement and inventory processes, including developing formal policies and procedures and assuming management of all fleet operations currently co-managed with another department.

The report stated that Fleet Management Division (Fleet) Chief Sam Houston requested the investigation after the division became aware of questionable purchases made by City employees of the Fire and Rescue Department's (JFRD) Tactical Support Facility using Fleet's blanket purchase orders.

A 2003 code amendment made both JFRD and Fleet Management responsible for JFRD vehicle and equipment purchasing, management, and maintenance. Shared responsibility meant the two facilities shared maintenance and repair work, as well as parts storage. The split responsibility "contributed to the problems," according to the report.

The audit recommended that fleet:

  • Closely monitor procurement and inventory management functions to reduce opportunities for undetected fraud.
  • Develop formal policies and procedures for inventory management.
  • Increase physical control over parts inventory and consider enhancements to camera system and door access control.
  • Implement inventory management practices such as automated ordering of low-inventory parts, assess inventory for obsolete or slow-moving parts, and implement a new parts numbering system to reduce parts duplication and aid in identifying requirements. Fleet will also conduct a wall-to-wall parts inventory.
  • Establish a separate parts inventory for Tactical Support, which Fleet will monitor and audit on a regular basis.
  • Discontinue the use of "miscellaneous" in lieu of parts numbers.
  • Undergo a human resources audit addressing job classifications, duties, and benefits.

Fire and JFRD chiefs immediately suspended JFRD Tactical Support buying power except for two employees, implemented weekly audits of purchases, and met with Fleet to discuss a standard operating policy for procuring items.

Other recommendations in the report were agreed to and implementation is in process.

"Fleet is currently reviewing and assessing its inventory practices for both effectiveness and efficiency. Fleet will establish a written policy and procedures for inventory management," Houston stated in his response to the recommendations.

Fleet Management is responsible for managing the City's motor vehicle service operations. It has an operating budget of almost $40 million, including fuel, and about 120 employees.

By Thi Dao

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