MAHONING VALLEY Performance audit gets MVSD's OK

Staffing and the usage of overtime and sick time are among the items that the audit is expected to address.
MINERAL RIDGE -- Mahoning Valley Sanitary District will pay the state auditor's office $83,000 to conduct a performance audit to determine efficiency.
The board of directors approved the expenditure at a meeting Tuesday. C. William Burgess, president, and members Matthew J. Blair and Alfred J. Fleming voted in favor of it; member Harry L. Johnson III abstained.
Johnson said that he thinks some areas of the district need to be reviewed but that some things included in the audit are unnecessary.
Subjects to be covered: The audit will cover management operations, including human resources, planning and financial operations, pumping and purification operations, field maintenance and security. It will analyze budget processes, staffing levels, and leave and overtime usage and assess the impact of technology on the departments.
Robert J. McMahon, deputy auditor in the performance audit division for the state's Cleveland region, said the auditors will compare the MVSD's departments and operations with other water districts. They haven't determined which ones, he said.
Blair said one issue he's concerned about is overtime and sick time usage.
McMahon said that will be addressed in the audit. After the assessment, auditors will make recommendations.
Staffing levels: For example, the auditors will determine whether each department's staffing level is appropriate and make suggestions.
"It will be almost like a blueprint you could use for future decisions," McMahon said.
The board designated David Tabak, chief engineer, as a liaison to meet regularly with the auditors during their review. It will begin in early July and is expected to end in late November.
"I really think it's something that's needed here," Fleming said. "It will give us some idea of where we're going -- give us some benchmarks."
Monthly meetings: In other business, Blair said the board needs to meet each month. The board last met in February. The start of the performance audit was delayed because the board hadn't met, he said. The letter to the directors from the auditor's office, spelling out the scope of the audit, is dated March 29.
Burgess said the panel had decided to meet monthly, but board members often had scheduling conflicts. The board has been meeting when something requires a vote, he said.
Burgess, whose term as president was extended through July 31, said he would arrange for the board to meet monthly.

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