I showed where the concerns in Baltimore City agencies lie-----let's talk about building oversight and accountability. Remember, we need that strong public justice system to correct for fraud and corruption.
This is exactly what is happening in Baltimore. Know who is raking in the profits with the city having to replace these parking meter batteries CONTINUOUSLY? This is as well how Baltimore's parking meter system becomes unjust because batteries are attended as needed in some communities---less or not at all in others. People being told in lower-Charles Village to go several blocks to a Greenmount station to get a parking stub because meter batteries keep failing? REALLY?
This again is that tie to global corporations and global investment firms that control US city Parking Authorities like Baltimore. The more the batteries fail-----the more profits. Baltimore City Hall and Baltimore Maryland Assembly pols passing all the laws to allow this to occur.
THIS IS WHAT REBUILDING OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY LOOKS LIKE. ENDING JUST THIS CORRUPTION AND FRAUD IN OUR BALTIMORE PARKING AUTHORITY WILL BRING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR TO OUR COMMUNITIES.....MAYBE MORE.
Bloomington Parking Meters Failing At “Unacceptable” Rate
By Josh Margolis Posted February 5, 2016
At a press conference Friday, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton discussed continuing problems with the city's 1500 parking meters.
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton spoke at a press conference Friday on issues with the city's parking meters.
Bloomington’s parking meters have not performed as expected, Mayor John Hamilton announced at a press conference Friday.
Hamilton estimates lost revenue from the failing meters is in the “six-figures” range. The meters, projected to provide more than $1 million in annual revenue for the city, have brought in only $495,000 per year, according to the city.
“Since installation of the meters, nearly every meter in our city has failed to work properly,” Hamilton says.
Issues with the meters include frozen keyboards, dead batteries, a lack of backlighting, inoperable card readers, coins becoming stuck, and improper installation.
The monthly failure rate for the meters was 18 percent before being reinstalled under warranty last December, according to Hamilton. The failure rate has dropped to five percent since, and Hamilton says the city is working with vendor IPS to bring that number even lower.
“We have work to do to fix this problem that is underway now,” Hamilton says. “We’re working closely with IPS. It is my expectation that this company will stand by their product and their services and produce a system that is acceptable in its quality and operations, and if not, we will look for alternatives.”
The meters were installed by vendor IPS in August 2013 at a cost of more than $1.86 million. The city also pays $15,000 a month to IPS in processing fees for data collection, credit card processing and back office monitoring.
Below you see where I took the name for my non-profit organization. Oversight and accountability CANNOT BE DONE UNLESS PUBLIC STRUCTURES IN OUR COMMUNITIES ARE BUILT. We must create the data we are using for oversight. We cannot do that will all agencies tied to corporations and/or corporate non-profits.
Baltimore as a conservative city has convinced citizens that spending revenue on public agencies is a waste and that money needs to go to business to create jobs--that is a Republican standard. Even Republican voters now see the need for oversight and accountability and it starts with bringing these agencies into our communities to monitor outsourcing----to establish data from a historical view and tracking into the future. This is the only way to understand efficiency and effectiveness.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Citizen oversight is the act of an assembly of citizens, a form of citizen participation, who review government activities. Activities may be deemed as government misconduct. Members of the group are civilians and are external to the government entity. These groups are tasked with direct involvement in the citizen complaints process and develop solutions to improve government accountability. Responsibilities of citizen oversight groups can vary significantly depending on the jurisdiction and their ability to become influential. Oversight should improve government through citizen support for government responsiveness, accountability, transparency, and overall efficiency.
This will bore the socks off most people but this is what building oversight and accountability looks like. No one does data collection better than scientists using scientific method----no one in Baltimore knows what that means because----there is no data collected that is not meant to skew results to support the policies Baltimore Development and Johns Hopkins has in place under the Master Plan. That is why Baltimore's agencies are stripped of structure----corporations and their non-profits create all that data.
The most basic tenet of data collection is KNOW THE SOURCE AND ITS ACCURACY. How can any city agency verify this if all the data is being created by corporations especially if they are claiming proprietary rights to no transparency?
As important, this article shows the importance of having a HISTORY OF DATA COLLECTION on all areas so comparisons can be made and a BASELINE DATA SET can be found. All I hear around Baltimore is Baltimore City Hall has buried any data or historical documents and outside auditors say the same.
THE FIRST THING ALL BALTIMORE CITY AGENCIES DO IS DEVELOP AN OPERATIONAL PLAN TIED TO GOALS AND RESOURCES. THEN IT CREATES THAT BASELINE DATA DURING INITIAL ASSESSMENTS OF AN AGENCY'S CURRENT STATUS.
If Veola Environment has water and waste----If Veola Transportation has public transit-----if a consortium of the world's rich control all of our Parking Authority and our Port of Baltimore----you have none of the above. Making the validation of data central to operations means we must have access to previous records from these PARTNERSHIPS and set the platform for being the ORIGINATOR OF DATA. Can you image doing any of the details below with PARTNERSHIP attachments?
Building a Sound Data Collection Plan
Black Belts and Six Sigma practitioners who are leading DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) projects should develop a sound data collection plan in order to gather data in the measurement phase. There are several crucial steps that need to be addressed to ensure that the data collection process and measurement systems are stable and reliable. Incorporating these steps into a data collection plan will improve the likelihood that the data and measurements can be used to support the ensuing analysis. What follows is a description of these steps. A checklist, populated with dummy responses, is also provided to illustrate the importance of building a well-defined data collection plan prior to execution.
Three phases – five steps total – are involved in building a sound data collection plan:
Pre-Data Collection Steps
1. Clearly define the goals and objectives of the data collection
2. Reach understanding and agreement on operational definitions and methodology for the data collection plan
3. Ensure data collection (and measurement) repeatability, reproducibility, accuracy and stability
During Collection Steps
4. Follow through with the data collection process
Post-Data Collection Steps
5. Follow through with the results
Step 1: Define Goals And Objectives
A good data collection plan should include:
- A brief description of the project
- The specific data that is needed
- The rationale for collecting the data
- What insight the data might provide (to a process being studied) and how it will help the improvement team
- What will be done with the data once it has been collected
Step 2: Define Operational Definitions and Methodology
The improvement team should clearly define what data is to be collected and how. It should decide what is to be evaluated and determine how a numerical value will be assigned, so as to facilitate measurement. The team should consider consulting with the customer to see if they are already collecting the same (or similar) data. If so, comparisons can be made and best practices shared. The team should also formulate the scope of the data collection:
- How many observations are needed
- What time interval should be part of the study
- Whether past, present, and future data will be collected
- The methodologies that will be employed to record all the data
If the team wishes to examine historical data to include as part of the study, careful attention should be paid to how reliable the data and its source has been, and whether it is advisable to continue using such data. Data that proves to be suspect should be discarded.
Step 3: Ensuring Repeatability, Reproducibility, Accuracy and Stability
The data being collected (and measured) will be repeatable if the same operator is able to reach essentially the same outcome multiple times on one particular item with the same equipment. The data will be reproducible if all the operators who are measuring the same items with the same equipment are reaching essentially the same outcomes. In addition, the degree to which the measurement system is accurate will generally be the difference between an observed average measurement and the associated known standard value. The degree to which the measurement system is stable is generally expressed by the variation resulting from the same operator measuring the same item, with the same equipment, over an extended period.
Improvement teams need to be cognizant of all the possible factors that would cause reductions in repeatability, reproducibility, accuracy and stability – over any length of time – that in turn may render unreliable data. It is good practice to test, perhaps on a small scale, how the data collection and measurements will proceed. It should become apparent upon simulation what the possible factors are, and what could be done to mitigate the effects of the factors or to eliminate the factors altogether.
Step 4: The Data Collection Process
Once the data collection process has been planned and defined, it is best to follow through with the process from start to finish, ensuring that the plan is being executed consistently and accurately. Assuming the Black Belt or project lead has communicated to all the data collectors and participants what is to be collected and the rationale behind it, he or she might need to do additional preparation by reviewing with the team all the applicable definitions, procedures, and guidelines, etc., and checking for universal agreement. This could be followed up with some form of training or demonstration that will further enhance a common understanding of the data collection process as defined in the plan.
It is a good idea that the Black Belt or project lead be present at the commencement of data collection to provide some oversight. This way the participants will know right away whether or not the plan is being followed properly. Failure to oversee the process at its incipient stages might mean that a later-course correction will need to be made, and much of the data collection and/or measurement efforts will be wasted. Depending on the length of time it takes to collect data – and whether the data collection is ongoing – providing periodic oversight will help to ensure that there are no shortcuts taken and that any new participants are properly oriented with the process to preserve consistency.
Step 5: After The Data Collection Process
Referring back to the question of whether or not the data collection and measurement systems are reproducible, repeatable, accurate, and stable, the Black Belt or project lead should check to see that the results (data and measurements) are reasonable and that they meet the criteria. If the results are not meeting the criteria, then the Black Belt or project lead should determine where any breakdowns exist and what to do with any data and/or measurements that are suspect. Reviewing the operational definitions and methodology with the participants should help to clear up any misunderstandings or misinterpretations that may have caused the breakdowns.
Step 6: Sample Populated Data Collection Plan
The text displayed in maroon is example data for illustration purposes only. In order to create your own data collection plan, you should follow the outline provided and reproduce the maroon text with your project specific plan.
Goals And Objectives
Description of the project:
The results of the recent election in our municipality have caused concern over the validity of our vote counting process. Our current law states that a manual recount is required when the vote count differential is less than 0.5 percent. However, neither the manual vote counting process nor the vote counting device have been analyzed to determine their reliability. Such information will be beneficial to the legislature when they convene to discuss the state of our voting process. Therefore, the improvement team has decided to collect some data relating to the vote counting process. They will start the measurement phase with an experiment to determine if the punch-hole type ballots have any tendency to become altered or materially misshaped – such that the outcome (or vote) would change if the same ballot were subjected to a manual recount – as a result of being processed through the vote counting device. This one-factor-at-a-time experiment will explore the possibility that manual recounts, even if proven to be reliable, could give erroneous information if the ballots they receive (as inputs into the manual recount process) from the vote counting device have been altered in some way. Subsequent experiments will examine whether the practice of stacking and binding the punch-hole type ballots after they have been processed through the device would contribute to any alteration of outcomes.
Data to be collected:
Post-feed vote count accuracy.
Name of measure (label or identifier):
Vote count totals from pre-marked ballots after being processed by the vote counting device.
Description of measurement (accuracy, cycle time, etc.):
Accuracy – Comparison of ballot and vote totals pre-and post-feed, giving us a yield.
Purpose of data collection:
Ultimately, the goal is to determine if the reliability of the manual vote counting process and ballot counting devices in our municipality will be consistent with our laws requiring a re-count at a 0.5% threshold.
What insight the data will provide:
The data, when counted and compared with the pre-marked ballot totals prior to processing, should tell us if the ballots are distorted in any way when they are fed through the vote counting device such that the outcome (or vote) is altered.
Type of measure (input, process or output):
Type of data (discrete-attribute, discrete-count or continuous):
How it will help the improvement team:
The team will be able to make a decision on whether to eliminate from consideration the possible effects of the ballots being processed through the vote counting device as a possible factor in the overall reliability of the vote counting system.
What will be done with the data after collection:
The team will use the data to arrive at a process accuracy measure, which may be included in the final rolled throughput yield calculation. The team may also use the data to populate a concentration diagram if vote count inaccuracies seem to congregate in one particular area on the ballot that might indicate an obstruction or force in the device that would cause inaccurate vote counts.
Operational Definitions And Methodology
Who? (roles, responsibilities):
Project lead and process owner will supervise/oversee; each team member will participate in the data collection.
What? (define the measure):
Post-feed vote count accuracy: Inaccurate = Post-feed ballot does not match exactly the outcome (votes) of the same pre-marked ballot at pre-feed.
Where? (source, location):
Data collection will take place at the precinct 9 headquarters. Data analysis will be conducted at the State Capital offices.
Sampling plan (number of observations):
1,000 total observations are desired. 250 of them coming at each interval.
When (times, intervals, frequencies):
Data collection to take place every Thursday beginning October 9 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Data collection will cease on October 30th.
Data collection to begin October 9.
To be determined.
Post-feed vote count accuracy: A pre-marked ballot containing five names written in magic marker (located in the upper right corner of the ballot) will serve as the actual voter intention and will indicate to the participant who they will vote for (i.e. what hole to punch). The participant will take the pre-marked ballot to voting booth A and punch the appropriate holes. The hole-punching will be observed by the team lead or the process wwner. When all the appropriate holes are punched, the team lead or process owner will record the results as they interpret the punches. The participant will then take the ballot and deposit it into the vote counting device. Once the ballot has been fed into the device and the vote has been registered, it will be collected again by the participant and compared to the original, pre-feed vote at booth B. The team lead or process owner will record the results once again as they interpret the punches in their post-feed form. The process will repeat until the desired number of observations has been met.
How (recording data):
Use the tally sheets provided by the team lead. An inaccurate vote count will receive the numeral zero on the tally sheet and an accurate vote count will be recorded (tallied) as the numeral one.
Data Collection (and Measurement) R&R, Accuracy and Stability
Plan for data collection (and measurement) repeatability:
Plan for data collection (and measurement) reproducibility:
Plan for measurement systems accuracy:
Plan for measurement systems stability:
Baltimore created a Data Stat under O'Malley that does look at community data. If you look at Data Stat for Police Department you cannot make an assessment because tons of investigative research printed and documented shows this data was not accurate. It was MASSAGED to give good stats for a policy goal. The same will exist for the Baltimore Department of Education, Baltimore Department of Health, Baltimore Department of Environment, etc. If a corporation wasn't collecting the data-----the city hall agency was MASSAGING THAT DATA.
So, the entire Baltimore data system is corrupt and a new baseline data set needs to be assessed. As well, much of Data Stat objectives are geared to this Master Plan and rebuilding Baltimore as an International Economic Zone so all of the real estate assessments and data will not be geared towards MY ONE BALTIMORE where real estate is assessed as part of an existing community.
WE MOVE FROM VALUE-ADDED AND EVIDENCE-BASED FOR CORPORATE PROFIT TO PUBLIC INTEREST AND THE HOW, WHAT, WHY, WHEN, AND WHERE OF DATA COLLECTION REVERSES.
If we know Baltimore is ranked at the bottom in the nation in public health outcomes; if we know Federal and state funding for low-income citizens often never reaches communities; if we know that Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health basically controls our public health department and creates this data----if we know they use a VALUE-ADDED AND EVIDENCE-BASED data collection geared to corporate profit and not public interest----
THIS DATA WILL NOT REFLECT THE GOALS OF MY ONE BALTIMORE AND WE WILL NEED A NEW BASELINE AND GOALS.
Summarized Crime Data By District - Week 8
All BPD data on Open Baltimore is preliminary data and subject to change. The information presented through Open Baltimore represents a summarized version of Part I victim based crime data (http://bltmo.re/h7bNv). The data do not represent statistics submitted to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR); therefore any comparisons are strictly prohibited. For further clarification of UCR data, please visit http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr. Please note that this data is preliminary and subject to change. Prior week data is likely to show changes when it is refreshed on a weekly basis.
This dataset is not tabular data, and may have limited interactivity, but it is available for download
Baltimore City Health Department
Stats and DataThis page contains links to files which may require additional software to view. You may download a free viewer here.
Baltimore City Neighborhood Health Profiles (2008 and 2011)
Frequently Asked QuestionsLink
Neighborhood Health Profiles for Individual Neighborhoods (2008, 2011)Link
City-wide Neighborhood Health Profile Report (2011)PDFInteractive Maps
Baltimore City Interactive Health Maps (external link)LinkHealthy Baltimore 2015
Healthy Baltimore 2015 (2011 initial report)PDF
Healthy Baltimore 2015 Interim Status Report (October 2013 update)PDFLife Expectancy in Baltimore City, 2013
Life Expectancy Map, Baltimore City, 2013PDFHealth Disparities
Baltimore City Health Disparities Report Card - 2014 PDF
Baltimore City Health Disparities Report Card - 2010 PDF
The Health of Latinos in Baltimore City - 2011 (English) PDF
The Health of Latinos in Baltimore City - 2011 (Spanish) PDFCommunity Health Survey
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Community Health Survey Results - 2014PDFFood Insecurity
Food Insecurity Among Children Ages 0-3 (Emple) - 2011PDF
Food Insecurity Among Children (Cha) - 2011 PDFAlcohol and Substance Abuse
Alcohol Outlet Density Report - 2011PDF
Intoxication Deaths Associated with Drugs of Abuse or Alcohol - 2009 Annual Report PDF
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Reports on Drug- and Alcohol-Related Intoxication DeathsLinkMaternal, Infant, and Youth Health
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Baltimore City Child Fatality Review Team - 2010 Annual ReportPDFMaps and GIS Resources for Baltimore City
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Baltimore City Map with Census Tracts and NeighborhoodsPDF
Baltimore City Map with Zip CodesPDF
Baltimore City Department of Planning - Master Plans, Maps, and PublicationsLink
United States Census Bureau 2007 TIGER/Line© Shapefiles for BaltimoreLinkOther Data Sources on the Health of Baltimore City
Baltimore CitiStat Performance Measurement SystemLink
Baltimore City Department of Planning - Research and DataLink
Baltimore Neighborhood Indicator AllianceLink
CDC WONDER Online DatabasesLink
CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)Link
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Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) Data and StatisticsLink
Maryland Vital Statistics Administration (VSA) Reports and Vital StatisticsLink
Maryland State Data Center, Baltimore CityLink
OpenBaltimore, Baltimore City's Data PortalLinkHistorical Baltimore City Health Department Reports, digitized
Hard copies of some additional years are available for in-person inspection upon request. Please contact Paul Overly at 410-396-9946.
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1939PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1941PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1942PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1943PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1944PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1946PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1947PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1948PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1950PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1951PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1952PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1953PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1954PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1956PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1958PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1959PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1960PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1962PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1963PDF
Annual Report of the Health Department of Baltimore City - 1965PDF
Research at the Baltimore City Health Department
Public Health Review FormDOCFor any questions, please contact the Office of Epidemiology Services at email@example.com. Thank you.
Office of Epidemiology Services
Address: 1001 E. Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
Office of Acute Communicable Diseases
(For information on reporting infectious disease outbreaks.)
Below you see what every outside auditor assigned by agency reports EVERY TIME. These audits occur very infrequently---and when they do there is no focus on finding fraud or corruption---they simply tell us nothing is there and/or things that are there are not accurate.
It is critical not only to review these old audits and what documents exist but while doing so visualizing what a working operational system will look like. We need to assess the existing system as we develop goals and methods for this new system with a focus on real oversight and accountability with data collected as VALUE-ADDED AND EVIDENCE-BASED FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST---NO CORPORATE PROFIT.
I could post these kinds of articles for every Baltimore agency so it's safe to say the entire data system will need to be revamped.
Then you see the City Council, Comptroller, et al touting the fact that the first audits in 30 years have occurred saying THIS IS THE BASELINE-----when everyone knows all of that data is bad. Does Baltimore Development and Johns Hopkins know this problem exists?
OF COURSE---THEY CONTROL BALTIMORE CITY HALL AND DISMANTLED ALL OUR PUBLIC AGENCIES TO CREATE THIS UNACCOUNTABILITY.
"What I'm encouraged by is we're actually doing audits for the first time in 30 years," he said. "Now we will have a baseline."
Audit: Baltimore transportation department doesn't keep records, puts bad info in city's budget
Main Maryland (MD) Audit: Baltimore transportation department doesn't keep records, puts bad info in city's budget
- 12.07 / 11:15 www.baltimoresun.com Luke Broadwater
Baltimore's Department of Transportation does not keep sufficient records to track how well workers are doing their jobs, and submits erroneous information annually in the city's budget, a new audit has found. The audit of the agency's performance is the first completed under Baltimore's …
The audit of the agency's performance is the first completed under Baltimore's new auditing law, which requires 13 city departments to undergo financial and performance audits at least once every four years. The document will be submitted to the Board of Estimates Wednesday. Auditors from Hamilton Enterprises LLC attempted to track how well transportation officials had paved streets, managed traffic, inspected bridges and roadway lights, and avoided damage while impounding vehicles. But the agency "provided no evidence of policies, procedures, internal controls, or accountability" for its workers' performance in most categories, and CitiStat, Baltimore's accountability office, "did not track any data" for other measures, the auditors wrote. "The lack of oversight, accountability and internal controls ... undermines the intent of the performance measurement process as a whole," the auditors wrote. In response, city finance officials said they are creating a new committee to address the findings of this audit and others that will soon be released. Howard Libit, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said record-keeping will improve as more audits are done. "It’s the first time many of the agencies have had performance audits in decades," he said. "The auditors didn’t say they didn’t do the work. It’s just that the records aren’t kept are the level that an outside auditing firm wants." The next audit to be completed will likely be of the finance department. Comptroller Joan Pratt, who oversees city auditors, said that review should be released either this week or next. "Most of the audits will be indicative of a lack of supporting documentation and insufficient, incomplete and inaccurate reporting," she said. "I don't believe these audits will reveal there is any fraud, waste and abuse that is rampant in city agencies." OH, REALLY???? MAYBE WE NEED A DIFFERENT KIND OF AUDIT!
She said the process is "revealing how important it is to have the quadrennial audits or even annual audits of city agencies, but we need sufficient funding." Pratt has said in the past that Rawlings-Blake is not providing robust enough funding for city auditors. City Councilman Carl Stokes, who authorized the legislation requiring the audits, said the first review finished shows that city officials have essentially been submitting "lies" to the council during the budget process. "They didn't have any documentation," Stokes said. "That's not a guesstimate. That's a lie. They make up numbers. They have no clue how many pot holes they filled." Even so, Stokes said, he was glad the audits are finally being completed. "What I'm encouraged by is we're actually doing audits for the first time in 30 years," he said. "Now we will have a baseline." Pratt's Department of Audits typically conducts more than 10 audits per year. While an audit is performed each year of the city's overall budget, more exhaustive audits of individual agencies have been far rarer.
Baltimore council members, frustrated that some departments hadn't undergone agency-wide performance and financial audits in decades, took the issue to the voters in 2012. Voters approved a charter amendment requiring that 13 key agencies be audited every four years. Under the charter amendment, all of the audits must be completed by the end of the mayor's term in December 2016.
Stokes said he does not fault the outside auditors for falling behind a timeline relea…
You bet your life depending only on external auditors performs a corporate governance role. Baltimore City does not need external auditors---it needs an oversight and accountability structure with checks and balances and an internal audit system to justify all that and all this is posted to the public.
External auditors are brought in for a few reasons:
They are considered insiders able to access proprietary information that our public employees cannot.
They know not to look for fraud and corruption but simply to report on what files are missing.
Too often outside auditors are tied to this system of government corruption and are simply another layer of 'OUTSIDE CONSULTANT'
We do not want outside audits---we want our own internal system of balance and we then should have state and Federal agencies doing those audits but they have been dismantled. Until we fix this---we look closely at the record of these local, outside auditing companies.
Do External Auditors Perform a Corporate...unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/APCITY/... Do External Auditors Perform a Corporate Governance Role in Emerging Markets?
Evidence from East Asia* Joseph P. H. Fana and T.J. Wongb aDepartment of Finance, School ...
I am not trying to impinge the integrity of any external auditor-----Baltimore City would need to have an external audit on occasion to verify existing practices. We all know the corruptions are not being identified as these audits occur -----some auditors do that and others do not.
The outside auditor must be tasked with looking for corruption and irregularities, documenting them, and be ready to report such in any further action. There is no way a Baltimore City agency can be audited with only the commits NO GUILT IS IMPLIED----these are the same financial audits we heard from US Justice Department when investigating Wall Street fraud-----
THIS AUDIT SHOWING EVERYTHING IS WRONG IS NOT AN INDICATION OF WRONGDOING OR GUILT.
This is the revolving door put into place from Clinton/Bush/now Obama that moves consultants around doing all these functions OUR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES USED TO BEFORE DISMANTLED.
ONLY, IT COSTS TAXPAYERS MORE TO USE THESE PRIVATE CONSULTANTS THAN IF WE HIRE BALTIMORE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES TO DO THE JOB UNDER RULE OF LAW.
Towns and cities across the US have been reporting frauds and corruption these few decades because they still have these public structures looking for all this. Baltimore has absolutely none for decades if ever. This is why you never hear of anyone in Baltimore being tried for corporate fraud and government corruption. NO REAL OUTSIDE AUDITS OR INTERNAL CONTROLS.
External Auditor's Responsibility for Detecting Fraud During an Audit
by Adele Burney, Demand Media In the wake of the corporate downfalls of companies like Enron and WorldCom, focus in 2011 is on auditors to find misdeeds before they hit the front page of the newspaper. Contributing to the reliance on auditors is the 2002 passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This act effectively tightens accounting controls and regulates the roles of internal and external auditors. Because of this act, the external auditor faces added responsibilities in detecting and reporting fraud.
The signing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in 2002 changes the way publicly traded companies report their earnings. The act is geared toward making corporations accountable for misleading information in their financial reports. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a public company must hire an external audit team to review their accounting procedures and their financial statements. In addition, the act separates the internal and external audit duties. Before this act, some companies were able to engage their contracted external auditors into performing internal audits. Section 404 of the act outlines the duties and responsibilities of the external auditor.
Auditor's Responsibility for Detecting and Reporting Fraud
Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act each public company should have an audit committee that oversees and governs the integrity of financial reporting within the company. This committee also oversees the auditors, both internal and external. Upon finding evidence of fraudulent accounting, the external auditor must communicate her findings to the committee or other governing body within the organization. The external auditor also reports findings of procedures that could possibly put the company at risk of possible fraud. Under the act, the auditor cannot assist in creating new procedures or guidelines for the company. They must maintain a professional distance and can only offer opinions and assessments of current systems.
Types of Accounting Fraud
The most common type of fraud auditors uncover is revenue recognition errors. Revenue recognition is reporting revenue that the company earns. Some companies may mistakenly report revenue that is not completely earned, which happens in cases where payment is for an annual period and the company reports all the revenue upfront. The correct reporting would recognize or report the revenue over a year. Auditors also find evidence of fraud in estimates of accounts payable and other accounting estimates. Some findings are not fraudulent but may lead to accounting errors or put the company at risk such as overlapping accounting duties. For example, the person who makes the bank deposit should not balance the bank statement.
Ways to Detect Fraud
External auditors review journal entries and interview the company's accountants on procedures to uncover potential risks. They will meet with management to gain an understanding of procedures and then test those procedures for SOX compliance. They also review any large or unusual transactions or journal entries that occur outside the normal scope of business. Auditors also ensure that there are proper controls in place to deter any possibilities of fraud.
'Escaping Detection: Why Auditors Do Not Find Fraud
When candidates for Mayor of Baltimore all shout AUDITS, AUDITS, AUDITS they are all referring to these kinds of audits that do not look for fraud---but simply determine whether a form is there. That is what Wall Street and corporations think is great oversight and accountability. So, Obama and his US Justice Department deliberately audited as described below----never wanting to find fraud or corruption and these are the same audits Baltimore City Hall does when citizens get angrier and angrier about corruption. As you see we can have the right audits----they cost a bit more----but if you have built a good system of checks and balances with data validation and monthly internal audits as should exist-----that cost for an outside audit for fraud and corruption is not that much.
DON'T THINK OUR WALL STREET CANDIDATES ARE NOT GOING TO CONTINUE WITH THESE KINDS OF AUDITS.
'Traditional financial statement audits were never designed to detect fraud.
The audit is simply a process by which auditors check the company’s math and application of accounting rules. Audits can be made more effective when it comes to finding fraud, but there will be a cost to doing so. The current financial model for audit firms will not be able to support the above suggestions. There will need to be wholesale changes in the business of auditing if we ever expect audits to find more fraud'.
Escaping Detection: Why Auditors Do Not Find Fraud
This article was originally printed in Valuation Strategies, a magazine published by Thomson Reuters.
Even with all the publicity surrounding the issue of financial fraud in the last decade, most auditors, investors, and other professionals still do not “get it” when it comes to detecting fraud. Traditional financial statement audits were never designed to detect fraud.
The audit is simply a process by which auditors check the company’s math and application of accounting rules. Auditors examine a very small percentage of transactions. Fraud is rarely detected by financial statement audits because they are not aimed at doing so. However, sometimes fraud is detected by auditors, and they can increase their chances of finding fraud if they are so inclined. There are opportunities during each financial statement audit to find fraud, if only the auditors are diligent. One of the keys to becoming better at detecting fraud is by understanding why auditors so often do not find fraud.
The issue of finding fraud in audits is important not only for auditors.. Investors and other professionals who use financial statements need to understand the fraud risks to fully appreciate just how unreliable financial statements can be when it comes to the issue of fraud.
The bottom line is that those who are confident that audits will find fraud are fooling themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. The occasional instance of auditors detecting fraud during a financial statement audit does not mean that audits are effective at detecting fraud.
This article discusses the nine most common reasons why auditors miss fraud that is occurring right under their noses. By highlighting these issues, professionals can better understand the issues related to detecting fraud, and avoid a false sense of security when examining audited financial statements.
Reliance on Internal Controls
The depth of audit testing and the types of procedures used are heavily influence by the assessment of internal controls by the auditors. They are looking at the company’s policies and procedures that help ensure accurate financial statements. The auditors determine whether those controls exist, are adequate, and are enforced.
Based on their assessments of the risk and the controls, auditors will plan their audit work. It is easy to see that any faulty assessments at this stage of the process can be detrimental to the entire audit. If the auditors are not fully on top of the risks, they cannot possibly plan their work to deal with those risks.
Audit clients are often guilty of having deficient internal controls that never get corrected. The auditors tell clients there is a problem, but they continue business as usual. When the next year’s audit begins, the auditors find that none of the problems were fixed. Do they adjust the scope of their audit work accordingly? Often, the answer is no, and so year after year there are deficiencies that are not addressed with increased auditing procedures.
Predictable Audit Tests
Auditors are notorious for repeating their testing from year to year, focusing on the same accounts or types of transactions, and using dollar thresholds that the audit clients are intimately familiar with. When employees know exactly what risk and accounts the auditors will target, the effectiveness of audit testing goes down.
The element of surprise is quite effective in preventing and finding fraud, yet auditors do not often employ this technique. Surprise helps to prevent fraud because employees are never quite sure whether certain accounts or transactions might be selected for testing. They are less likely to engage in fraud because they do not know if the auditors will be looking.
But if the client knows where the auditors will be focusing their attention, it is easy to fabricate documents, make strategic journal entries, or otherwise doctor the accounting records. Think about how simple it is for a company to move inventory from one location to another if it knows ahead of time which facility the auditors will be visiting. Within each facility, consider how easy it is to arrange the inventory to make it appear as if more is on hand than truly exists, especially if management knows which types of items the auditors are likely to count or examine.
Auditors have a tendency to get complacent in their testing. It is too easy to test the same items in the same way from year to year. And how are brand new auditors taught the business of auditing? They are usually told to look at last year’s workpapers and do the same procedures in the current year audit. What better way is there to guarantee that the client will never be surprised by the audit procedures?
Sampling Is Not Enough
The heart of an audit is testing transactions. The auditors select a sample and test those transactions to ensure that they were properly recorded in the accounting system. The inherent limitation in sampling is that all transactions are not tested. And of course, it would not be possible for the auditors to examine all transactions a company enters into in a year.
There is always a good chance that a key transaction will not be part of the auditors’ sample, and therefore will not be examined. So many transactions are untested by the auditors, and that means there is a very good chance that a fraudulent item will not be part of the testing.
Working Around Scope and Materiality
To make matters worse, management knows that the auditors generally choose larger dollar transactions to test. By testing larger amounts, the auditors get greater “coverage” and can test a larger percentage of the dollars. This creates a huge opportunity for someone perpetrating a fraud. If she or he needs to manipulate the accounting records, several smaller entries (instead of one large entry) will most likely never be examined by the auditors.
Auditors are constantly looking at numbers in terms of scope and materiality. Smaller amounts, whether right or wrong, don’t mean a lot in terms of the bigger financial picture of a company. What the auditors often forget, however, is that the issue of materiality is not limited to just the magnitude of the dollars. While a small number may not mean a lot to the company as a whole, the facts surrounding that small number may make it material.
Consider a relatively small theft by the CFO of the company. While the total dollars may fall well below what one would normally consider “material” to the company, the circumstances surrounding the theft make it material. The fact that the company’s top finance professional is stealing suddenly makes the small dollar figure very important, and therefore material.
The current business model for audit firms (and the one that has been in place for decades) relies on relatively inexperienced auditors to do the bulk of the field work. While this may make economic sense in terms of controlling the costs of audits, it is a terrible practice from a quality control standpoint.
Young auditors often do not know what questions to ask, and are usually reluctant to ask difficult questions or challenge management’s assertions. They are easily manipulated, influenced, and misled because of their inexperience. They often lack a true understanding of business and financial statements, as these are things that take time to learn in the real world.
Most auditors lack an in-depth understanding of fraud schemes and how they are carried out. If asked to explain a common fraud scheme like round-tripping or channel-stuffing, most inexperienced auditors will be speechless. Simply put, they’re not adept at recognizing suspicious transactions and fraudulent documentation.
Those who have the knowledge to identify problems and ask difficult questions spend very little time in the field. They are best equipped to zero in on fraud, yet they provide little hands-on supervision of the inexperienced auditors.
Dynamic Business Environment
Gone are the days when a company’s business changed little from year to year. Mergers and acquisitions, development of new products and services, and constant strategic planning all mean that business is changing faster than ever. Comparing the financials of a company from year to year becomes nearly impossible because of all the changes.
Yet auditing has not really changed much over the years. The businesses are harder to audit and the fraud risks are changing, but the audit process has been slow to catch up. The right audit approach 20 years ago is not still the right approach today, yet many facets of audits are largely the same.
Fraud perpetrators know that auditors cannot keep up with all the changes in their businesses, and they can easily exploit this. Auditors are at the mercy of management, and find out about things only if they ask the right questions that elicit truthful answers. It is easy to see how auditors can be duped because of their lack of knowledge.
What happens when auditors fin an “exception” in their audit testing? When is the exception deemed serious enough for action? The audit work following the discovery of an exception can sometimes be inadequate. It’s difficult to say just how much additional testing should be done after a problem is found in the accounting records.
One of the most basic instances of inadequate follow-up occurs when the audit client is unable to produce documentation to support a transaction. Who is to say that the missing documentation is simply an error, rather than something more sinister? Auditors are often quick to select alternative transactions for testing when documentation can’t be located, but this creates an opportunity for a perpetrator of fraud.
Managers and executives engaging in fraud are often adept at using social engineering to manipulate the auditors. They can appear cooperative, and even are agreeable to adjustments the auditors may suggest, particular if this cooperation keeps the focus off other areas of the financial statements which contain evidence of fraud.
Needle in a Haystack
When it comes to fraud, management has a significant advantage over the auditors. Management knows exactly where the fraud is hidden, while the auditors are left looking for a “needle in a haystack.” The auditors have no idea whether fraud has occurred, what kind of fraud might have been perpetrated, or where it is hidden in the financial statements.
The odds are stacked heavily in favor of the person committing the fraud. It is bad enough that the auditors do not know what they should be looking for, but things are made even worse if the perpetrator takes into account the above audit limitations.
For example, it is fairly easy to hide fraud in an account with a high volume of small transactions. What happens if the auditor is fortunate enough to discover one of these fraudulent transactions? Who is to say that it might be an honest mistake? The auditor might talk herself or himself out of inquiring further.
Use of Estimates
Critical parts of a company’s financial statements are often based on the judgment of management, which has to use its knowledge of the business to make estimates. Unfortunately, management’s judgment and estimates are difficult to audit. For example, the company may need to make estimates related to the costs of providing service to customers who have purchased items under warranties. It will be difficult for the auditor to evaluate these estimates, as they usually do not have in-depth knowledge of the business and the warranty issues.
Auditors are at the mercy of management, the holders of all the information. Management may be aware of business changes that invalidate historical methods of estimating certain items, but unless it tells the auditors about these changes, the auditors most likely will not be aware of them.
Making Audits More Effective
Users of financial statements need to understand the inherent limitations in the auditing process. Audits have never been designed to detect fraud, and unless there is a massive change in the business of auditing, they never will detect fraud at a meaningful rate.
Helping auditors get a better understanding of the business they are auditing is key to performing more effective audits. Younger auditors need better training and supervision, and classroom work cannot take the place of actual experience in the field.
Audits should use basic techniques like the element of surprise. The auditors should vary their procedures and scopes from year to year, and surprise procedures should be conducted throughout the year as well as during the audit. More time needs to be spent on assessing how fraud could be committed at the company.
Those who know the most about business and financial statements need to be more involved in the field to help auditors learn more. Inexperienced auditors need the support of the more experienced auditors so they can confidently ask difficult questions and challenge suspected methods or transactions.
Audits can be made more effective when it comes to finding fraud, but there will be a cost to doing so. The current financial model for audit firms will not be able to support the above suggestions. There will need to be wholesale changes in the business of auditing if we ever expect audits to find more fraud.
Lastly on this issue of data quality, collection, and oversight-----all of the above are the controls in place for data generated by our public agencies. As we remove corporations from our agencies we will use these procedures more and more.
Until we do Baltimore still must provide oversight and accountability to our CORPORATE PARTNERS.
The idea that a government official can enter a contract agreement which claims proprietary and closed door lack of transparency is false. These are not legal constructs for government since officials have no rights to abdicate all control or public access to how our taxpayer dollars are being used and to what end. These processes have been in place these few decades and as we remove corporations from our city agencies we will use this fact---THESE ARE ILLEGAL, UNCONSTITUTIONAL AGREEMENTS. There can be no proprietary agreement excluding citizens and taxpayers.
That said, we have the same system as described above doing these audits on our PRIVATE PARTNERS. That means nothing being audited is done to find fraud or corruption----it simply says a form is present.
Below you see a vital infrastructure partner for Baltimore----EXELON----and we know Exelon is outsourcing sometimes to global corporations and as such citizens of Baltimore have no idea what is happening with their home energy/electricity utility that used to be a public utility where we generated all of the data and public policy.
Did you know O'Malley, Maryland Assembly, and our corporate PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION handed our utility to a global corporation with a family of companies?
was named after sponsors U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and U.S. Representative Michael G. Oxley (R-OH). As a result of SOX, top management must individually certify the accuracy of financial information. In addition, penalties for fraudulent financial activity are much more severe. Also, SOX increased the oversight role of boards of directors and the independence of the outside auditors who review the accuracy of corporate financial statements.
Anyone who knows what Sarbanes-Oxley accounting laws are about ----they are centered on finding fraud and corruption while none of the auditing used does this----they have negated Sarbanes Oxley.
A mayor of Baltimore has the obligation to assure any corporation operating in the city is doing so to public interest and under Rule of Law. We don't just say----well, the state will do that---or the Federal agency will do that. It is fundamental to our city sovereignty to make sure these utilities are secure and functioning in the public interest.
'Financial Controls Analyst - IT Audit
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Business Unit Overview
Join our Exelon Business Services Company (BSC) to be part of a diverse and inclusive team that provides best-in-class professional services and adds exceptional value to Exelons family of companies. We provide financial, human resource, legal, information technology, supply management, communications, and corporate governance services.
PRIMARY PURPOSE OF POSITION
Assist in implementing detailed FCG strategy, processes, and interactions to help Company receive positive assertions from management and attestation from the external auditor regarding the effectiveness of the internal control environment by: - Executing and documenting SOx program deliverables (including but not limited to: scoping, walkthroughs, design and operational effectiveness testing, RCM creation, and deficiency evaluations) in accordance with Exelon auditing methodology/techniques and program calendar ensuring working papers support results of examinations, and that findings, conclusions, and recommendations are reported in a clear, concise, and timely manner for the business and are maintained to satisfy requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley