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Searching for ways to reduce cost and trim the City of San Diego's structural deficit, department heads from 175 city offices agreed to implement recommendations outlined in the city auditor's 2008-2009 annual report. The next step was to enlist the city's audit committee to follow up on those recommendations. However, the city auditor and the audit committee are still waiting for the comptroller's office to issue a report on whether city departments have responded to cost-saving recommendations outlined in last year's audit review.

"Originally, we wanted to issue a report by the end of the year," said city auditor Eduardo Luna during the Monday, January 11, audit-committee meeting, "but the information that we need to do our work hasn't been provided to us."

Luna and his internal audit committee expected to receive the audit-performance updates last November but were told by city comptroller, Ken Whitfield, that they won't be ready until late January.

"We are trying to put the final pieces on the database," explained Whitfield at the meeting. "It doesn't mean that things haven't been done. It's just simply a matter of priorities in our office with the new payroll system going live over the holidays and the budget. We had to push a project back and that was the one that fell to the wayside."

"I appreciate your candor," responded chair of the audit committee, councilmember Kevin Faulconer. "I want you to hear very clearly from me this morning that it is a priority for this committee, and I expect it to be a priority."

Audit committee member Carl DeMaio wasn't as appreciative with Whitfield's candor, or his excuse. "We have to make sure that those improvements are actually implemented," said DeMaio, "or this is nothing more than a display. I find it absolutely unacceptable. Mr. Luna has been asking for months for this information and he hasn't been provided it."

As for the audit-performance updates falling by the wayside to other priorities, DeMaio added: "Following up on the investment we made on performance audits is absolutely paramount. I suggest management identify another way to implement this. It is not a solution to say, 'he has other priorities.'"

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