Custodial audit calls for centralization

Auditors are recommending that custodial and maintenance operations at City Hall be consolidated to better track expenses and reduce bloated administration.

Consolidation has been a recurring theme running in multiple recent city audits that have recommended putting several decentralized operations — from graphics to computer software licensing — under one roof in an effort to trim costs.

When it comes to maintenance operations, the Public Works, Community Services & Parks and Glendale Water & Power have separate staffs with differing ways of completing custodial work and building repairs.

The decentralized structure “increases the risk of resources not being fully utilized and potentially causing higher maintenance costs to the city,” according to the facilities audit of operations for fiscal year 2010.

Altogether, the three departments received about $14 million for maintenance operations for fiscal year 2011-12 and have about 50 maintenance employees, according to the audit.

In addition, departments often hold off on fixing issues until they become an emergency. The audit stated that more preventive maintenance is needed to minimize facility breakdowns and long term costs.

To do that, the city needs to keep track of the types and frequency of certain jobs and an inventory of facility conditions, according to the audit. Doing so would be easier with a centralized structure, auditors said.

The audit also recommended that the city better track and standardize workplace performance evaluations.

For example. the Public Works Department gauges some costs based on the number of service requests — even though the scope of work for changing a light bulb may differ from an office remodel, they’d each be counted as one service request.

Department administrators agreed with the audit’s 15 recommendations and plan to make changes, as well as discuss centralization, by the end of the year.

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