Since my coming to Los Angeles Animal Services this past January the LA Animal Services Commission has suggested the need for a service delivery/performance audit. Members of the public have also expressed the need for such an audit. In both Maricopa County and New York City there was an audit conducted at both the beginning the end end of my tenures. I actually asked for the audits at the end of my past posts because I'm a strong believer in the role of an audit to serve as a benchmark for determining past performance and serving as the basis for future strategic planning.
Based on discussions I began and Commissioner Atake reinforced during her spring visit to the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, we have forged an agreement with City Controller Laura Chick to underwrite a full performance audit (an audit of the operations as well as the finances) of LA Animal Services.
This is a pioneering agreement, the first time a City audit has ever received outside financial support. This makes it possible to add the audit to the Controller's otherwise full schedule for this year, yet the agreement preserves the Controller's full independence and autonomy over the process. The Controller will be working with outside consultants, including experts in the field of animal care.
Because the Best Friends' donation to cover the cost of the audit requires City Council approval, Councilmember Jack Weiss today introduced a motion to accept the donation.
I want to thank the Mayor's office, the City Council, and the Commission for their support of this effort. I especially want to thank Best Friends Animal Society for helping our community rise above the hyperbole to look for positive and lasting solutions to a very complex community problem.
It is my hope LA City will join us in looking forward to this audit as an important learning experience. I am asking for everyone's support not only for the audit but also for our staff whose work will be under very close scrutiny during this process.
What follows is the Motion Council Member Jack Weiss submitted to the City Council today:
The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services appears to have embarked upon an era of positive change. It is revamping its management structure, opening new, state-of-the-art animal shelter facilities and launching expanded programs to reduce pet overpopulation and greatly reduce euthanasia in its shelter system. Both the Mayor and the Board of Animal Services Commissioners have determined that these efforts would be substantially aided by the conduct of a performance audit and the creation of a multi-year strategic plan for the department. LA Animal Services management has agreed to this approach and the Best Friends Animal Society, a non-profit organization based at 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, UT 84741-5000, has stepped forward to offer the City the funds necessary to underwrite the conduct of this performance audit.
In accordance with the Los Angeles Administrative Code section 5.200.1, any gift exceeding $25,000.00 in cash or in-kind value must be accepted by the City Council.
NOW, I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Council:
1. Accept the $200,000 donation from the Best Friends Animal Society, a non-profit organization based at 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, UT 84741-5000, for the audit of the Animal Services Department and deposit said funds to Fund 100, Department 56, General City Purposes, Revenue Source Code 4512, Donations, and appropriate therefrom to a new account entitled, "Animal Services Audit;"
2. Authorize the City Clerk, with the assistance of the Controller, to negotiate, execute and handle payment and final close-out of a contract of up to $200,000, for the above purpose, subject to the approval of the City Attorney as to form;
3. Request the Controller to monitor the contractor for contract compliance and authorize payments;
4. Authorize the City Clerk to make any technical corrections or clarifications to the above instructions in order effectuate the intent of this Motion;
5. Stipulate that the role of Best Friends Animal Society in the conduct of the audit is strictly limited to providing this donation, unless the Controller or its designated audit contractor directly requests further counsel from Best Friends;
6. Instruct the City Clerk to notify Best Friends Animal Society of this action and to thank the organization for its generous commitment to supporting the work of the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services and the animals of the city.
Presented September 12, 2006