The City of Carrollton was awarded the 2019 Exemplary Knighton Award by the Association of Local Government Auditors (ALGA) for Best Performance Audit in the Extra-Small Shop category for its internal audit report entitled, “2018 Fire Department Overtime Expense Review.”
“These types of audits help keep the City’s departmental budgeting on track and focus on improving governmental efficiency and effectiveness,” Bob Scott, Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer said. “Overtime for Carrollton Fire Rescue (CFR) is complicated due to the unique shift arrangements, minimum staffing requirements, and the application of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to the fire service. The ability to thoroughly and objectively analyze statistics and situations gives insight into the best practices suited to Carrollton’s individual circumstances now and in the future.”
CFR is a multi-function emergency and non-emergency department providing various services including fire suppression, medical services, ambulance transportation, incident and specialized rescues, emergency prevention, public education, emergency management, and code compliance. It employs 161 civil service personnel, five non-civil service personnel, and currently utilizes eight fire stations, one training building, and Fire Administration offices.
“This audit scored the highest for its conclusions and recommendations and was widely viewed by the judging panel as an impressive work with a high potential for lasting, important impact,” the judges said in a notification letter to the City. “The presentation and conclusions exuded thoughtfulness for management, employees, readers, and the everyday people of Carrollton.”
The ALGA stated the report was well documented, including strong analytical approaches for evaluating and improving operations, provisions for clear communications of the business impact, and root causes for each finding to the reader.
“This report shines for its outstanding and varied analysis of the Fire Department’s overtime expenses,” per the ALGA judges in the review summary. “The conclusions were as revealing of the issue as they were of the audit team’s work ethic.”
Submissions are evaluated against four criteria, based on the inclusion of an audit scope with the potential for significant impact and responsive to the needs and concerns of decision makers and/or the public, audit conclusions that are persuasive, logical, and firmly supported by the evidence gathered using appropriate research methods and tools, audit recommendations that are feasible and will make government programs more effective and efficient, and audit results that are communicated in a clear, concise way.
“Due to the complexity of CFR’s business operations, and FLSA requirements for employees engaged in fire protection, the calculation for determining overtime, in general, is not a one-to-one conversion,” City Internal Auditor Muh-Ing Lee said. “The key to controlling the overall cost of personnel and in turn the cost of overtime is in maintaining the optimum level of staffing – and that is hard to determine.”
Through the observations and recommendations outlined in the report, Scott said CFR has implemented several cost saving initiatives and is using the report’s findings to evaluate its overtime and operational processes in general.
“I am honored to be of service in the role of Internal Auditor for the City of Carrollton,” Lee said. “It is rewarding to be a part of such a valuable and worthwhile endeavor.”
According to the ALGA, local government auditors’ work encompasses a wide variety of industries, rather than a single industry, and local government auditors are committed to helping their governments improve service delivery to citizens while doing so more efficiently and effectively within the limited resources available.
The ALGA is a self-proclaimed national audit association founded in 1985 that is committed to supporting and improving local government auditing through advocacy, collaboration, education, and training, while upholding the highest standards of professional ethics. ALGA members represent approximately 300 local government organizations nationally.
The award was to be presented at the 2020 Annual ALGA Conference in North Carolina in May, but the conference was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions and the award was shipped instead.