City of Austin doesn’t track technology it purchases, audit finds

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Metropolis of Austin doesn’t know how substantially it spends on know-how every single calendar year and doesn’t retain a citywide stock of the know-how it owns. These are just a couple of the results in a new town auditor’s report.

The audit, introduced to several city council users this 7 days, notes there are several problems with the city’s course of action to buy technological know-how.  

Planning for purchases is mainly left to personal departments and not carried out continuously or coordinated, according to the audit. The city’s process to obtain technology typically involves many events, like city council, the Communications & Technologies Management Section, the Company Obtaining Office environment and other metropolis departments.

Auditors seemed at the city’s know-how buying procedure amongst 2019 and 2021. They paint a photograph of a dysfunctional system which lacks interaction or knowledge of what the town already owns.

“Imagine you are dwelling in a residence with four other roommates who do not talk much. Every of you goes to the grocery shop and buys foodstuff, but none of you has a checklist or understands what is in the pantry in advance of you go,” auditors wrote metaphorically. “When every person gets household, how substantially foodstuff did you buy that was now in the residence? How a lot of of you bought the similar issue? This is like how the City buys engineering besides the City’s approach is on a much larger sized scale.”

The audit thorough examples of city departments purchasing technological innovation that does not fulfill or align with the city’s needs.

In one occasion, a section spent $36,000 on tablets for staff members to use in the subject. After getting the tablets, the office uncovered they would not function with the department’s software, and the division shelved them, in accordance to the audit.

The audit references another example the place a section desired to obtain a way to monitor its inventory and the city’s Communications & Technology Administration Division instructed an present town program. The department later uncovered that procedure could not keep track of all its stock.

Pertaining to a technologies stock, auditors noted they suggested the city establish an inventory in two prior reviews. City management expects to have an stock completed in 2022, in accordance to the new report.

“Having an inventory of technological innovation property is critical to stay away from copy, wasteful buys,” reads the audit. “It is also crucial to make certain the City purchases know-how that aligns with Citywide targets. There are safety and fraud risks if the Metropolis are not able to account for what it has and where by it is.”

Most metropolis departments rely on Austin’s Communications & Engineering Management Office to meet their tech needs.

In a assertion, a CTM spokesperson instructed KXAN, “Departments are required to track controllable property valued at higher than $500 and capital assets valued at increased than $5,000 that have a usable lifestyle for a longer period than a person calendar year. CTM keeps an inventory for merchandise procured and provided by CTM.”

Tips and reaction from metropolis administration

The Auditor’s Place of work suggests City Manager Spencer Cronk make sure technological innovation oversight teams are set up. Metropolis management agreed. The Metropolis Manager’s Workplace and the chief information officer are at this time reviewing the state of the current Facts Technological innovation governance construction.

A further suggestion from auditors is for the chief information officer to create a stakeholder group, which would evaluate the city’s latest tactic to shopping for engineering. Town management agreed and programs to establish a stakeholder crew by the conclusion of 2021.

Auditors also advisable the chief data officer be certain the metropolis maintain comprehensive, exact and out there facts for determination makers, such as details about preparing, assessments and efficiency.