Matthew Lickona 1:14 p.m., May 24
Audit blasts Sanders for city maintenance meltdown
Administration of lame duck mayor gets poor marks for massive failure to fix falling-apart city facilities
Lame duck Republican mayor and local craft beer booster Jerry Sanders has been on a series of nostalgic victory rounds of late, throwing a lavish downtown farewell party, and being celebrated as San Diego's greatest mayor in history by a U-T San Diego columnist.
Meanwhile, back at city hall, city auditor Eduardo Luna is out with an audit report with a different perspective on the ebbing administration of Sanders, which will become history early next month. The findings suggest that Sanders and his aides have been ignoring crucial lapses of the city's maintenance monitoring that could bring about a dangerous crisis regarding deteriorating building conditions.
In a report dated November 23, the auditor's office calls out the Facilities Maintenance division of the city's General Services Department, saying the city’s "operating model is inefficient and unsustainable."
"In 2008, two independent consulting firms assessed the condition of City facilities and found many to be in poor condition. While the City has not reassessed the condition of its facilities since that time, our audit work found that the Facilities Division is not adequately equipped to keep up with necessary maintenance and repairs.
The audit continues: "According to Facilities, lack of resources and staff have hindered the Division’s ability to address maintenance requests in a timely manner. At the time of our audit, the Facilities Division had over 1,300 uncompleted building maintenance and repair requests (also referred to as 'open work order tickets').
"We even noted one repair request was initially reported in October of 2008—to address wood rot on the balcony of a lifeguard tower."
There are vast holes in the city’s building condition data, says the audit.
"We intended to analyze the sufficiency of the current staffing level based on workload (for instance, FTE per square foot). We were unable to do so because the Facilities Division does not have an accurate list of the facilities that need to be maintained. While Facilities does maintain this list, there are known errors, double-counted facilities, and inaccurate information. "
The police and fire departments are complaining about the condition of their buildings, the report notes.
"Both Police and Fire-Rescue assert that their internal crews are not sufficient to conduct all maintenance and repairs, and the lack of Facilities support could lead to further deterioration of public safety facilities."
"Without action, the City will continue to see further degradation of aging facilities and increased costs associated with expensive breakdown maintenance and emergency repairs."
How did Sanders respond?
According to the audit report, "The Administration provided a draft, unsigned response to our audit report by our agreed upon date. We reviewed the draft response [and] made a minor change regarding organizational responsibility.
"The Administration agreed or partially agreed with all seven audit recommendations. Specifically, the Administration agreed with two recommendations and partially agreed with five recommendations."