City still looking for internal auditor

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Despite a Carson City charter provision that the city needs an internal auditor, the city has been without one for about four months.

However, supervisors Richard Staub and Pete Livermore are working on redefining the position of the only city employee who is not under the supervision of City Manager John Berkich and reports directly to the Board of Supervisors.

A 1987 grand jury report censured the city for not having an internal auditor. Deputy District Attorney Mark Forsberg said while "at some point, something needs to happen about it," the city isn't in danger of breaking any laws.

"I don't think we're breaking the law at this point because we're thinking who we want to hire or because we're studying the function to decide what the board of supervisors wants this position to mean," Forsberg said.

Staub suggested during his 2000 election campaign the city should consider an audit of its management functions to make sure it's operating at peak efficiency. After the departure of Internal Auditor Gary Kulikowski in August, city leaders agreed to look at making the job of the auditor one that monitors efficiency rather than finances.

Staub and Supervisor Pete Livermore are on the supervisor-led subcommittee studying the issue.

"The finance department has a good handle on making sure departments are spending money properly," Staub said. "We want to look more at performance audits than fiscal audits of departments to make sure they're doing what they're supposed to be doing and are doing it as efficiently as possible. With this, we can achieve both scales of reporting that the Board really needs."

Livermore said the board needs someone reporting to them that "follows more than paper trails."

"Are they doing the best?" he asked. "(During budget sessions,) I have nothing to go on but a gut reaction."

Staub said the subcommittee members decided to look at how 10 cities similar in size to Carson address their internal auditing function. He and Livermore expect to have a strategy dealing with the internal auditor's function by city budget sessions in March.


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