Audit Faults Management of City Sports Fields - 8 News NOW

Audit Faults Management of City Sports Fields

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LAS VEGAS -- The city of Las Vegas on Sept. 22, 2010, issued a report titled Audit of Leisure Services -- Sport Fields Administration, which uncovered numerous problems from July 2008 through December 2009.

Read the key findings:

* It was difficult to determine whether the city collected adequate fees for use of city sports fields. Of 747 field permits issued by the city, auditors couldn't determine in 286 cases, or 38 percent, whether the users ever paid for the fields because there wasn't evidence that those customers were assigned rental numbers. This included 186 permits for 30 leagues, 97 walk-in users and three tournaments.

Of 88 separate facility use agreements studied, auditors couldn't find evidence of payment in five of those cases, or 6 percent, because there wasn't evidence that the users were assigned rental numbers. This included two league field allocations and three tournaments. Auditors also identified 31 cases where field usage was authorized but there was no payment to the city or the incorrect amount was charged, and 16 cases where a tournament wasn't charged the required 10 percent registration fee. Auditors also couldn't find field permits or facility use agreements for 93 walk-in users, 20 leagues and 53 tournaments.

"There is a lack of assurance that all revenue has been collected for the usage of sport fields by user groups," the audit stated.

* One recreation leader schedules field times and processes payments and a senior recreation leader reviews and reconciles deposits but the audit stated: "This oversight process does not include reconciling funds received to field usage or provide for an adequate segregation of duties to ensure that appropriate payments were received for all authorized field usage … Recreation leaders have the ability to authorize field usage and either charge a reduced fee, not charge a fee, or skim fees without detection."

* Auditors found that "recreation leaders have the ability to steal funds without detection" because of the way transactions are handled. The computer application used to process transactions allows users to delete transactions and reassign fees from one activity to another without oversight.

The audit identified 11 instances where the registration fee for a city-sponsored league team was deleted after the completion of the session. The registration fees were then reassigned to later sessions. The computerized daily cash balance report and security override log history didn't indicate that these fee registration reassignments occurred, meaning "employees can process these transactions without detection or oversight."

* An examination of field use for spring 2010 "shows inequities of how sport fields are allocated to the various leagues." A study of 26 randomly selected leagues found that they were charged anywhere from 54 cents to $6.67 an hour for field usage, and that the average number of hours of field time assigned to each team in the leagues ranged from 15 hours to 185 hours.

One 30-team league paid $1.79 an hour and averaged 56 hours of field time per team. Another 30-team league paid $2.81 an hour and averaged 39 hours of field time per team.

"The current process results in an inequitable distribution of the sports field usage hours allocated to the various user groups," the audit stated. "Leagues allocated a higher percentage of fields with a lower fee per hour have an unfair advantage."

* An observation of light usage at 17 parks from 8 to 11 p.m. in April 2010 found that of the 125 fields with lights on, 76 weren't in use. On April 28, 2010, when there was a weather advisory for 60 mile per hour winds, auditors went to seven parks from 7 to 9 p.m. Of the 37 fields that had their lights on, 29 weren't in use.

Auditors found that agreements signed with sports leagues didn't include requirements that they notify the city if they're not using the fields or change their schedules. Leagues weren't charged additional fees for light usage in Las Vegas as they are required to pay in Henderson and North Las Vegas. Also, while many youth league games and practices ended by 9 p.m., their field allocations lasted until 10 or 11 p.m.

"The city is unnecessarily paying for lights when sports fields are not used," the audit stated.

It was estimated based on a cost of 10 cents per kilowatt hour that it would cost the city $23 to light a softball field for five hours with six light poles, and cost $30 for baseball, football and soccer fields with up to eight poles.

"Citizens see lights on at sports fields and conclude that the city is not an effective steward of taxpayer funds," the audit stated.

* Of the 364 teams that played in city adult softball leagues from July 2008 through June 2009, 165, or 45 percent, of the team rosters couldn't be located.

"Without team rosters, we could not confirm how many individuals participated in these adult softball league games or if liability waivers were collected for the team members," the audit stated.

Of the 199 softball team rosters that were located, no liability waivers were found for 1,305 -- or 49 percent -- of the 2,674 team members. Likewise, auditors couldn't locate 20 of 57 adult soccer league rosters -- or 35 percent -- for the period from July 2008 through June 2009. For the 37 rosters that were located, no liability waivers could be found for 98 -- or 15 percent -- of the 649 players.

"A systematic process is not in place to ensure that all team rosters and signed liability waivers are obtained and retained," the audit stated. "Individuals who pursue claims against the city when they are hurt or personal property is damaged while participating in city sponsored league activity may be awarded $75,000 for damages if the city does not collect and retain signed liability waivers."

Auditors also found that Leisure Services retains the waiver documents for only two years even though individuals who wish to recover damages for property loss have three years to pursue action.

City management said they would do what they could to comply with the audit's recommendations by September 2011, but planned to comply with many of the recommendations sooner.

But the city didn't expect to implement recommendations to correct wasteful use of lights for fields not in use until this year "due to the radical change that will be experienced by our user groups and the need for time to fully brief and vet with the City Council."

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