Downtown library, completed in 2013
Spending and security at San Diego's public library, ensconced in luxurious new digs, is out of control, endangering safety and the city treasury.
Eduardo Luna: "Our investigation determined that the poor oversight of P-Card use has been ongoing for the last year and was reported to have been an issue for much longer."
So indicates San Diego city auditor Eduardo Luna in a December 2 emergency letter to library director Misty Jones.
Library "policies and procedures were nonexistent, outdated, or did not address risks we identified across a variety of library functions and operations," writes Luna of the findings of a recent library performance audit.
"We are issuing this memorandum to management and those charged with governance prior to completing our performance audit due to the inherent risks these conditions pose to the City."
In addition, the memo says, "we are issuing a separate confidential, limited use memorandum to management regarding safety and security-related internal control issues, and will omit that information from the public report."
According to Luna, the library "has yet to undertake a system-wide process to evaluate areas of risk to library operations, and establish controls to mitigate those risks. Specific areas that we evaluated include: physical security, environmental controls, inventory, loss protection, purchasing of materials and supplies, contract administration, revenue collection, and timekeeping."
Security in and around the new downtown library has long been a topic of discussion and criticism, with city officials roundly denying any problems.
10News reporter shows "cheap bike lock" preventing entrance to closed library
In February of last year, KGTV news reporters relayed word of lax security, broken doors, and a bludgeoning across the street from the new facility.
"Team 10 was able to open multiple doors with broken locks in the middle of the night. All some doors needed was a good tug. The broken front doors were secured by a cheap bike lock when Team 10 checked. Sources said the door to the expensive rare book section has the same problem."
"The liabilities that the city faces in a situation like this are astronomical," Glenn Winn, identified as a security expert, was quoted as saying. "There's no limit as to what could happen in lawsuits against the city."
Then-interim mayor Todd Gloria dismissed the security problems as temporary, adding that police "planned to beef up patrols in the area."
Added Gloria, "I've been in the library many times…. I haven't witnessed personally what you said...which I think illustrates my point that these are isolated incidents."
But a December 1, 2015, letter from librarian Jones to auditor Luna did not contest his findings, saying, "On November 18, 2015, the Library Director and Office of the City Comptroller staff met to begin the coordination to address" the problems.
"Final completion" of the remedies will occur by July 1 of next year, the Jones letter says.
As a result of Luna's discoveries, Jones wrote, as of last month the library's "Code of Conduct, and other polices and procedures such as staff computer use, reservation and usage of meeting rooms, and the Department's emergency management and response policies were all updated."
In addition, after Luna issues his final performance audit, the library department "will develop a plan to prioritize and implement additional internal controls in areas identified by the risk assessment beyond those that currently exist within the City's municipal codes, ordinance, and Administrative Regulations."