Last year, City Auditor Laura Doug and her office discovered an alarming fact about police and fire staffing: 50 percent of all fire dispatchers and 30 percent of police dispatchers worked immense amounts of overtime, to the tune of $1.3M in overtime pay from the City.
This work has earned Doud her fourth Knighton Award from the National Association of Local Government Auditors (ALGA), an honor that highlights multiple auditors across the nation—small, midsize, and metropolis cities—that exemplify the best performing audit reports.
”Our report, released in May 2015, found that the Police and Fire Dispatch Centers answered emergency calls well within industry standard,” Doud said in a statement. “However, it also found that low staffing levels and past recruitment practices required emergency dispatchers to work extensive overtime. In 2014 overtime hours cost more than $1.3 million and comprised 22% of all dispatcher work hours, creating a potential unsafe work environment.”
Doud’s first Knighton, in 2009, recognized her audit of the Long Beach Museum of Art, which ensured that the organization could establish a plan to repay the money it owed the city. Her second, in 2010, recognized her Towing Operations Audit. Her third, awarded in 2013, was given for her office uncovering $17.6M in unpaid parking tickets throughout the city. Her office was also recognized in 2008 by the ALGA for its astounding website.
”We are pleased that the City has undertaken our recommendations which have the potential to improve the adequacy and efficiency of the Dispatch Centers’ staffing levels and, thereby, reduce the need for overtime,” Doud continued. “Having 9-1-1 dispatchers who are not overworked increases public safety by enhancing dispatcher performance, safety and morale.”