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Transparency, efficiency goals in city’s fiscal initiative

Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

DeKALB – DeKalb City Manager Anne Marie Gaura has unveiled a new financial responsibility initiative for the city, to begin immediately. The initiative’s goals are to improve financial transparency and accountability.

In two reports commissioned by the city, an outside consulting firm stressed the need for DeKalb to implement new financial policies. Gaura has identified a number of areas where the city can benefit from new or updated policies, according to a news release. Preliminary steps include involving staff and bringing in an outside expert to review the city’s current policies and processes.

“I have observed that the city is served by many dedicated employees who approach their job duties with thoughtfulness and diligence,” Gaura said in the release. “However, as the city continues to work toward greater financial stability, I have identified certain areas where it is necessary to make changes in the city’s budget and in the city’s financial and purchasing policies.”

Specific areas of improvement include ensuring all recommendations from financial consultants are evaluated and considered by the city council; improving purchasing policies to keep purchases within budget and staff spending authority; tracking and fully disclosing city revenues and expenditures, and giving the city council more information on an ongoing basis about deviations from projections; improving documentation of capital projects; and updating accounts payable processes.

“The recommendation to bring in outside expertise to review the city’s financial policies and implement changes to improve transparency and efficiency is exactly the sort of innovation that the city needs,” Mayor John Rey said in the news release. “The city will benefit from new leadership and new ideas that can ensure we continue making great progress with our community’s financial goals and with fiscal sustainability.”

Gaura and Rey said the initiative was not brought about by any specific incident, and said they had not identified any unlawful activities.

“The city has developed many traditions. Some of those traditions benefit the organization, and some leave room for improvement,” Gaura said. Our goal is to work with the city council and city staff to ensure that the city is at the leading edge of financial responsibility.”

Initial work will be funded by monies budgeted by the city for outside consultants. An agreement to use the services of an outside expert will be brought before the city council at a future meeting.

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