FY 2016 Operating Budget - Before the City Council Committee of the Whole

Testimony of
Hon. Alan Butkovitz.
City of Philadelphia
Before the City Council Committee of the Whole on the
City Controller’s FY 2016 Operating Budget
April 21, 2015

Good morning President Clarke and Members of City Council.  I am City Controller Alan Butkovitz and I am here today to testify on the City Controller’s Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget. 

I am joined today by my First Deputy City Controller Bill Rubin, Post audit Deputy Controller Gerry Micciulla, and Pre audit Deputy Controller John Thomas, as well as our Administrative Services Director, Andrea Rose. 

The Mayor’s proposed FY2016 Operating Budget for the City Controller’s Office includes a General Fund appropriation of $8,295,335. 

I would like to once again this year publicly thank all of my employees who continue to provide quality service to the citizens of Philadelphia.  They continue to do their part to help our great city meet our current financial challenge.  They are to be commended and congratulated. 

This year my Post-Audit Unit audited all 42 city departments included in our Annual Auditor’s Report and covered both FY2013 and FY2014.  In addition they completed seven performance and/or special audits, including the License & Inspections Performance Audit of Demolition Practices, Review of City’s Overtime Costs and the Review of Recreation Advisory Council's Bank Accounts.  All of these audits have been sent to you and can also be found on our website.

With our mission to provide a more efficient and effective government, it is with great pleasure to announce that we will begin training this week on the new electronic work papers system that will reduce paper consumption and printing resources, and accelerate the process used to conduct our audits by eliminating the need to manually enter many of the required fields.

Our ongoing development of quality, professional auditors within the Post-Audit Unit has been extremely valuable, as 42 percent of all audit staff possess their CPA status.   We have partnered with the Becker Group to help those who have not received their CPA, and we will defray the cost in return for retention of the employees upon completion.  These are two objectives Deputy Micciulla and I have been working on and have taken great pride in completing.

Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge the Post-Audit staff for recently being honored a 2014 Gold Knighton Award for their work in the Performance Audit of the Demolition Practices.  This is the second-consecutive year for being recognized by the Association of Local Government Auditors as producing one of the best performance audits in North American.  This is an outstanding achievement for the Controller’s Office and the Citizens of Philadelphia. 

Our Pre-audit Division provides oversight of the City’s payment and purchasing processes.  Pre-audit monitors, reviews and approves or disapproves all requisitions for payment of City funds, and responds to daily requests for information regarding vendor payments.  This division just last week was able to reach an agreement to have $95,000 returned to the City by a vendor who submitted invoices with incorrect charges.  This has been one of many undertakings that have led to positive outcomes with the city being the beneficiary.
My Fraud Unit has worked on many cases involving city Departments as highlighted in my submitted testimony.  One of particular note is the Recreation center case that has been given to the District Attorney’s office for further review.
Our Policy Department has developed several reports, most notably our review of the Convention and Visitors Bureau where we analyzed the workings of the two tourism agencies responsible for driving traffic to our historic City.

I have partnered with many Departmental Commissioners in an effort to collectively resolve the tremendous obstacles they have faced, and I look forward to continued cooperation in an effort to streamline city services and reduce their overall cost to the Philadelphia tax payer. 

Lastly, I would like to mention our youth mentor program implemented this year.  Our staff partnered with Operation HOPE, a non-profit that focuses on financial empowerment, to provide financial education to elementary and middle-school students.  We also established a course for high school students to provide real-life experience by offering a unique exposure to a professional office environment.

I appreciate this opportunity to present my testimony and I look forward to working with you in the coming year.