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Philadelphia District Office

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT OFFICE

Audit No. 366
January 24, 2003

Limited Audit of Financial and Administrative Controls

INTRODUCTION

The Office of Inspector General conducted a limited audit of the financial and administrative controls of the Philadelphia District Office (PDO). The audit procedures were limited to interviewing PDO staff, reviewing supporting documentation, and conducting limited tests of transactions. The purpose of the audit was to provide the Commission with negative assurance that the internal controls were adequate, implemented economically and efficiently, and in compliance with Commission policies and procedures.1 The audit was performed in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards during October and November 2002.

BACKGROUND

The Philadelphia District Office assists the Northeast Regional Office in administering Commission programs. In carrying out its responsibilities, the PDO exercises a broad range of financial and administrative functions, including maintaining time and attendance records; procuring supplies and services; arranging for staff travel; maintaining an inventory of property; and recording budgeted and actual expenditures of the office.

AUDIT RESULTS

During our limited audit, we identified one material issue. PDO needs to issue an enhanced emergency plan, as described below. In addition, the Office of Administrative and Personnel Management needs to provide updated guidance on emergency plans to field offices.

Otherwise, our limited review indicated that the PDO's controls were generally adequate, implemented economically and efficiently, and in compliance with Commission policies and procedures. We discussed some non-material findings and informal recommendations with PDO's management.

EMERGENCY PLANS

On October 30, 2001, PDO issued a draft of updated emergency procedures for its staff in the event of a disaster. The update covered office security, emergency notification, and employee tracking. However, it did not identify key employees, describe their duties, or provide for training them. The draft procedures have not yet been finalized.

The property management office of PDO's leased facilities recommends that tenants have an emergency response team, including a fire marshal and monitors who are responsible for the exits, stairwells, and staging.

Current Commission guidance on emergency plans (SECR 12-1, dated December 1, 1981) is outdated. For example, the Commission now has independent leasing authority, and thus has additional responsibility for building security and employee safety. Also, the current guidance does not describe in detail what an emergency plan should cover. 2

    Recommendation A

    PDO should enhance and finalize its emergency plan, as described above. The plan should comply with guidance from the Commission and PDO's property management office.

    Recommendation B

    OAPM should update regulation SECR 12-1 to include detailed guidance on the contents of emergency plans.

1 Negative assurance means that no material internal control weaknesses came to our attention during our limited audit.

2 Each field office is responsible for developing an emergency plan for its facility. The Office of Administrative and Personnel Management and the Office of the Executive Director are coordinating development of a continuity of operations plan for headquarters and the Operations Center.