LAS VEGAS -- The city of Las Vegas on June 23, 2011, issued a report titled Audit of Public Works -- Traffic Engineering Field Operations, finding numerous inventory issues in the office that constructs and maintains traffic signals and oversees roadway lighting.
Auditors said these issues created inefficiencies in trying to identify what inventory is on-hand, could lead to unexpected shortages of critical items or unnecessary purchases of items already on hand, and had the potential to lead to undetected theft or loss.
* The traffic signal construction and maintenance unit didn't complete an inventory of its maintenance and repair inventory for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010. Auditors also found problems with the way maintenance and repair inventory was stored at its storage yards and signal shop.
"Employees must periodically spend time searching the service yards to determine if they have the required parts for a repair project," the audit stated. This prompted the observation of "inefficiencies in employee time spent to identify inventory on-hand." Auditors also stated: "Upon observation of the maintenance and repairs inventory at the service yards, certain inventory appeared to be unorganized, in damaged containers, inadequately stored, and/or of questionable value."
* Field operations regularly brings salvageable inventory parts to the service yards be re-used when needed. But no record is maintained of this inventory and there is no formal evaluation of when to dispose of these items.
The audit stated that employees store "some earlier generation inventory that is no longer available from suppliers. No records are maintained of this inventory and there is no formal evaluation of when to dispose of these items."
* "The partially covered gated storage area at the West Yard appears to be inadequate for properly protecting certain inventory from the weather as evidenced by water stained and damaged boxes, standing water following a storm due to the lack of a drain, and high stacked boxes exposed to the wind," the audit stated.
* The inventory storage yards are padlocked but there is no master listing of employees who have keys to the padlocks.
"One of the sheds at the East Service Yard was secured with a double padlocked gate and barbed wire," the audit stated. "Despite the appearance of the security, this shed was accessed with ease with a simple push of the gate. In addition, padlocks to a gated inventory storage area were observed to be unlocked during the day on two separate occasions."
* Field operations used non-city authorized padlocks to secure inventory storage areas. The audit stated that keys for these padlocks are easily duplicated and there is no assurance that only authorized users are accessing the inventory areas. In addition, the use of unauthorized padlocks could hinder access to the areas by the fire department.
The city locksmith recommended that only city authorized padlocks be used because the keys for those locks cannot be duplicated, are limited in distribution, and are controlled by the city's locksmith shop
* There were no formal records of who has access to valuable tools and equipment, and there was no periodic inventory of these items.
"There have been past incidents of theft of valuable tools and equipment," the audit stated.
Management said it planned to implement all of the audit's recommendations by July 1 and complete many of the recommendations sooner.