Press Releases

Audit of Public Works & Engineering Drainage and Paving Construction Process Identifies Several Inefficiencies; Opportunities for Improvement

November 15, 2017 -- The Office of the Houston City Controller released its performance audit of the Department of Public Works and Engineering’s (PWE) drainage and paving construction process today. The audit – conducted by external audit partner Baker Tilly – generated 12 findings relating to Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) funded by the Drainage Utility Charge, a component of ReBuild Houston.

“While the scope of every audit we perform is limited, their purpose is to identify inefficiencies and areas where city departments can make critical improvements,” said Houston City Controller Chris Brown. “This audit will make both PWE and the City more efficient by improving internal controls over contract management, project funding, and contractor compliance, to name a few.”

The audit reviewed three randomly-selected CIP projects funded with Drainage Utility Charge funds. Those projects were:

  • Rampart Street Area Drainage Improvements Sub-Project I (Beechnut to Jessamine);
  • Shepherd Drive Drainage and Paving; and
  • Neighborhood Street Reconstruction Program 465

The review encompassed Fiscal Years 2014 through 2016, and tested activities and transactions to determine if project funding and accounting treatment – including the use of ReBuild Houston funds – were compliant with City ordinances. The audit also assessed individual project compliance with City ordinances, key contractual and regulatory terms and requirements, and analyzed the effectiveness of internal controls.

Additionally, sufficient controls were found to be in place regarding the application of funding sources to projects costs, tracking contractor payments, and adhering to city procurement requirements. While these findings pertain only to the three selected projects, they demonstrate adherence to the City’s financial policies and charter.

“My job as the elected City Controller is to ensure that taxpayer dollars are protected, particularly as it relates to programs like ReBuild Houston,” added Controller Brown. “The Controller’s Office is encouraged by findings that demonstrate the responsible management of funds relating to these three projects, but will continue to maintain strict oversight over ReBuild Houston funding processes through future audits.”

The full Public Works and Engineering Drainage and Paving Construction Process audit can be found at: http://www.houstontx.gov/controller/audit/reports/2018-04.pdf.