The city of San Diego should reestablish its internal audit function and recruit a new city auditor as soon as possible to do so, according to a report released today by the Office of the Independent Budget Analyst.

The report comes weeks after Chief Financial Officer Jay Goldstone acknowledged that the city had shifted its internal auditing employees to its accounting division to help complete the long-delayed audit for fiscal year 2003 — an elusive task that has compounded the city’s financial woes.

The audit division ensures that taxes are being collected properly and that city departments are performing efficiently and according to laws and regulations. The audit division’s website claims having recovered $1.5 million annually from an average of 150 revenue audits. “Thus, the Audit Division of the Auditor and Comptroller’s Office is integral to both the collection of significant revenue and to the effective operation of internal controls within City departments,” the report reads.

Even when fully staffed, San Diego’s audit division employs slightly more than half of the number of workers as divisions at comparable cities across the country. In 2006, the city budgeted 18.2 positions in its audit division. That number dropped to 12 for fiscal year 2007.

According to the IBA report, comparable cities boast an average of 22.5 employees.

City Auditor John Torell left in January. Here’s an article we did about Torell’s tenure and his sharp criticism of the Mayor’s Office.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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