The Office of Internal Audit was tasked with completing compliance audits of the Towing Permits for Beach Towing Services, Inc. and Tremont Towing, Inc. These two audits, as well as a third concerning the City departments involved in the towing process, are in draft form. Several meetings have been held with City staff and the towing companies' representatives; however, a consensus concerning the identified findings has not yet been achieved with the towing companies. The scope and objective of the towing audits was discussed at the April 24, 2019 Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee meeting, whereby it was to be referred to the June Commission meeting with no recommendation.
To date, these audits have not been finalized pending the Commission review of the discussions that took place at the Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee. At that meeting, the Committee heard testimony about alleged bias in the conduct of the internal audit from representatives of the towing industry, and the industry suggested that the City conduct a new audit, at their cost, utilizing an outside audit firm. This is apparently what happened the last time these contracts were audited.
The Committee also discussed having the Office of Internal Audit finalize the audits, including any comments from the two companies, and then bringing those to the full Commission. In the end, however, the Committee voted to forward this discussion to the full Commission without recommendation.
The City Manager has no reason to believe any bias existed in the conduct of the audits. That said, the City Manager has no objection to retaining an outside firm, at the Permittees' expense, to conduct a complete compliance audit of the Towing Permits. While there might be some concern that this could set a precedent, any such risk is likely eliminated by the pending creation of the Office of Inspector General and the merger of the Office of Internal Audit into the OIG. The independent Inspector General will be free to conduct audits in the future as he or she sees fit.