Supe Hopes Audit of Muni Management Will Be Factor in Budget Battle

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Jim Herd
With the Municipal Transportation Agency preparing to send hundreds of workers packing and MTA staff advocating for fare hikes and service cuts, Supervisor David Campos has a different idea. Earlier this week, he requested the city's budget analyst undertake a full audit of the city's transit service -- its first since 1996 -- to see just how well MTA is being run.

Told that could take up to a year, Campos scaled back his plans. On Thursday he told SF Weekly that he's now pushing for a "management audit, a comprehensive performance audit" whose results could be ready before the city finalizes its budget in June.

"From my perspective, when we're talking about an agency that has consistently had budget deficits and very basic issues have been raised in terms of overtime, and whether or not layoffs may be counter-productive and exacerbate existing problems, I think that all points to the need for a performance review," said Campos. "We're working with the budget analyst to put something together that makes sense and can be done quickly enough it could be useful in deliberating the budget."

Supervisor David Campos
Muni spokesman Judson True noted "We welcome any audit."

So does Irwin Lum, head of the Muni drivers' union. While both Lum and Campos confirmed that the union did not request the supervisor's action, the union boss can't wait to see what the city's budget analyst turns up.

"I think a management audit will uncover who is working where, who is getting paid out of what pot of money, and what their job responsibilities are. There are a lot of people hidden -- we don't even know who works there and what their responsibilities are, you know?" said Lum.

In addition to studying MTA's runaway overtime costs, Campos hopes the audit will focus on fare collection and "work orders" -- the technical name for the $63 million this year yanked from Muni by the police, ambulance services, and others. "That is a lot of money and I think most people would be surprised that Muni money is going to something that, certainly on its face, does not have much to do with Muni operations," said the supervisor.

It all comes down to "a very basic question -- is this agency being managed properly? Are they complying with best practices? Do we have an agency that is being run as well as it should be?"

And, left unsaid -- how can we save some damn money?

Photo   |   Jim Herd

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