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Emergency memo warns of library security breaches

City auditor hits "non-existent" and outdated "policies and procedures"

Downtown library, completed in 2013
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."
Misty Jones

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Library "policies and procedures were nonexistent, outdated, or did not address risks we identified across a variety of library functions and operations," writes Luna of the findings of a recent library performance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."

Todd Gloria

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."

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Downtown library, completed in 2013
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."
Misty Jones

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."

Todd Gloria

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."

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Comments
6

The downtown library is a monument to our arrogant so called leaders. There are many buildings that could have been used for a downtown library or land available to build a functional building but no the "leaders" had to squander millions of dollars on this monument to stupidity. It is no surprise that there are problems.

Dec. 4, 2015

We should be requiring patrons to show a library card to enter. There is no value in allowing drunk, crazy, stinking bums into a library.

Dec. 4, 2015

Only in SD city "gubmint" does it take until this coming July to get the doors locked and secured properly. Call a locksmith, for Pete's sake, and get them fixed today!

Dec. 4, 2015

Or drive to Home Depot to buy new door locks, and have the maintenance staff install them. This is not brain surgery. And it's good that city auditor Eduardo Luna exposed the truth, and didn't repeat the inaccurate assessment that it's "isolated incidents" causing problems.

Dec. 4, 2015

Since this was reported as an emergency matter, taking months to address the facets of the security breakdown should be a scandal. But in SD, scandals--or what should be scandals--are just everyday business at city hall. An action plan should have needed only a week or two, that is if the librarian really thought anything was amiss. So, her bureaucratic, slow/go approach was predictable.

Dec. 4, 2015

Simple solution is to replace the library director with someone who is dedicated to the job and qualified to the challenge. Maybe the auditor can take the job since he can see all the problems that have eluded Misty Jones.

Dec. 8, 2015

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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