Summary of Presentation by the Inspector General’s Office
Hosted by the West Avenue Neighborhood Association
April 27, 2021, 6pm to 7pm
Joseph Centorino assumed the position of Inspector General for the city of Miami Beach on November 2019. The position was created following a citywide referendum in 2018 in which 81% of city voters supported the establishment of an independent watchdog agency to oversee City affairs.
Since being established, the IG has completed many reports on important issues plus over 100 audits of city contracts. One of which is an audit for the tow companies which found they over charged consistently for services that were not justified. Incidentally, the original independent audit that the tow company insisted upon and volunteered to pay for was never completely and the City got stuck paying that bill. Another audit of the trash haulers found the city was owed $125,000 in fees per the trash contact. Audits, which are performed by the four in-house audits, is very labor intensive so adding one more auditor would be helpful, according to the IG.
Coming on the heels of the city getting caught for not building Indian Creek project per the plans submitted by DERM, the Palm/Hibiscus Report was another high profile investigation which determined that the permitting process was not followed. Thus causing violations and delaying the project by years much to the frustration of the residents living in the area under construction. DERM was called in and found that the city built storm drains on the private property of 88 homeowners that led directly into the Bay but were not permitted properly. The city submitted one set of plans to DERM , but used a completely different set of plans during construction. Also, the city plans showed the street being raised 8 inches, but it was actually raised 1 ft 8 inches. The IG Office is disappointed that no one in the city stood up and took responsibility . Instead the staff accused the IG of not understanding engineering process.
How can the IG office function even better? A change in structure that would allow for an independent city attorney to advise the IG. Currently, the City Attorney represents both the IG office and the City.
The good news is that the IG has already met with the new City Manager and explained several recommendations, 3 of which were accepted, others not. The bottom line is that the IG found that the city does not have a strong managerial process, especially for these design build projects. And now it is up to the departments to create that process.
All audits can be found on the IG website. And everyone is encouraged to contact the IG when they have something to report, which can be reported anonymously.