For immediate release: Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Contact: Jolene Nieves Byzon, 215-300-1071
Philadelphia, PA – City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart announced that she has assigned staff to begin performance audits, her first as City Controller, on the City’s sexual harassment/misconduct policy and procedures and on the validity and effectiveness of expenditures incurred by the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services. The Controller has estimated that the audits, which currently are in the information-gathering phase, will take approximately three months and six months, respectively.
“As City Controller, I am committed to undertaking performance audits to drive the City toward greater efficiency and lead to meaningful change,” said City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart. “For me, that means taking hard looks at complicated issues and performing in depth, long-overdue audits of departments and assessments of policy areas that could potentially pose significant financial liability for the City. I have chosen to look at DBHIDS and the City’s sexual harassment/misconduct policy and procedures first because I see a real urgency around these issues, from the opioid crisis and the scourge of gun violence to the disheartening and all-to-common allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against people in positions of power, including local, state and federal officials.”
The performance audit of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS), which has an annual budget of about $1.6 billion, will assess the validity and effectiveness of DBHIDS’s spending, totaling more than $1 billion annually. DBHIDS largely contracts out the services it provides to individuals through nonprofit agencies. The audit will specifically probe the provider selection process, the effectiveness of the services provided, and the process for determining how much funding a provider receives, among other factors.
The sexual harassment policy and procedures audit will look at payouts made by the City, the process for reporting allegations of harassment or misconduct for City employees and residents and its governing policy, the outcomes of reported incidents, the City’s sexual harassment training process for employees and more.
“The goal of DBHIDS is to support vulnerable Philadelphians, whether they are struggling with addiction, experiencing trauma or mental health issues or are living with an intellectual disability. This audit is about ensuring the dollars spent by DBHIDS are going to services and service providers that can best help those who need it,” said Controller Rhynhart. “The audit of sexual harassment policies and procedures is about ensuring that employees feel safe in their work environment and that we, as an employer, are protecting our employees. When the City isn’t taking the right steps to do that, in addition to the personal impact it has, we face a potentially serious financial impact.”
Additionally, the City Controller shared earlier this week that the ten-year property tax abatement is the first policy area that the newly created Strategy and Policy Analysis Division will review.