||Chairwoman Heyman relinquished the Chair to Vice Chairman Bovo who served as Chair of the Finance Committee, to discuss the budget presentations.
COMMISSION ON ETHICS & PUBLIC TRUST
Mr. Joseph Centerino, Executive Director, Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE), presented a brief overview of the department’s budget, noting the budget was relatively flat. He stated that as a result of reorganization over the past two years, the overall level of services had increased with more opinions and trainings being provided without a corresponding increase in the budget. Mr. Centerino explained that eliminating the position of Staff General Counsel last year generated substantial savings and the salaries for the two investigative positions that became vacant during this past Fiscal Year would be reduced. He indicated that the department’s revenues had increased through the Lobbyist Trust Fund and the Lobbyists Training Programs. Mr. Centerino noted the Employee Online Ethics Training Program would be available soon and was being funded with the carryover funds that resulted from the reduction in positions during the reorganization. He noted a two-day Major Corruption Conference for law enforcement personnel, scheduled for May 2013, was co-sponsored by the City of Miami Police Department, and was funded by conference registration fees collected. He noted the County Commission recently approved an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Miami Beach, which authorized COE to provide ethics training for the City’s regulatory employees. He further noted the City of Miami Beach had agreed to pay $45,000 to the County for providing the training and expressed hopes that this would become a template for future programs.
Chairwoman Heyman asked Deputy Mayor Genaro Iglesias to ensure that the County’s entire legal department be made aware that the County’s Commission on Ethics and Public Trust was certified to award Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for its Ethics Training Course.
JUVENILE SERVICES DEPARTMENT
Mr. Morris Copeland, Director, Juvenile Services Department (JSD), appeared before the Committee and introduced JAC Assistant Directors Catherimarty Burgos and Cindy Ackerman. Mr. Copeland provided a brief overview of the JSD and noted the department’s budget was funded primarily from the County General Fund; however, State and Federal grants provided over $2 million in funding. Mr. Copeland described the services provided by the JSD which included 24/7 screening, assessment, and referral for all juveniles arrested in this County. He noted the amount of $200,000 in federal funds was provided for the operation of a Global Positioning System (GPS), which allowed the children to return home in lieu of being held in detention centers. Mr. Copeland stated this system reduced the County’s costs from $300/day to $8/day and minimized the negative impact on the children. He announced that in a new initiative, the department had partnered with the Department of Children and Families and Kristi House to support efforts in assisting sexually exploited children. Mr. Copeland noted the Clinical Assessment and Diversion Services component provided intervention programs at four locations in the County and consisted of the Civil Citation Program, Juvenile Detention Alternative Program (JDAP), the Youth Commission, and the Guardian Ad Litem Program. He advised that the department had experienced fiscal challenges due to decreased revenues from grants and increased healthcare and retirement costs.
Chairwoman Heyman noted the demands on the JSD had decreased substantially with regard to custody, but had increased in relation to prevention and diversion. She pointed out that the department had helped save the lives of tens of thousands of children and this was exceptional. She said that she would support Mr. Copeland’s request to fund the department’s budget gap.
Commissioner Bovo thanked Mr. Copeland for the pro-active work his department was undertaking with regard to human trafficking. He asked Deputy Mayor Genaro Iglesias to provide Committee members with detailed information on the anticipated $1.8 million in State grant funding for the Juvenile Services Department.
OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
Mr. Christopher Mazzella, Inspector General, appeared before the Committee and informed Committee members that this would be his last meeting as he would leave his position at the end of April 2013. He recognized Assistant Inspector General Patra Liu to deliver the department’s budget presentation and expressed his appreciation to the Committee members for the support they provided to the Office of Inspector General.
Ms. Patra Liu, Assistant Inspector General, Office of Inspector General (OIG), provided a brief overview of the department’s proposed FY 2013-14 Budget of $5.7 million. She provided the following responses to Commissioner Bovo’s concerns:
- The current FY Budget was $5.2 million, $500,000 less than the proposed budget for the next FY. The difference was due to a proposed increase in the number of positions from 36 to 38, the increase in health insurance costs, and the Florida Retirement Services (FRS) adjustments.
- The amount spent to date was currently below 50 percent of the total budget due to a delay in filling vacancies within the department. The projected carryover into the next FY was only $77,000; therefore, the vacancies would be kept open.
- The amount which the department spent on services provided by other County departments was approximately $38,000. This went primarily to the Information Technology and General Services Administration (GSA) Departments. A separate line item was charged by the Clerk of Courts for records retention and storage and additional funds were paid to the Internal Services Department Real Estate Division for the properties rented by OIG.
- The amount spent on salaries and fringe benefits was approximately 90 percent of the department’s budget, the operating costs, had remained flat or decreased, and a $4,000 decrease was projected for the operating and capital budget.
Ms. Liu noted some current FY priorities included contract oversight, audits of Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond (GOB) grants to not-for-profit organizations, and large capital projects, including the Water and Sewer Department’s Countywide Water Restoration Project. She noted additional areas being served by the department included the building of the Transit Department’s Lehman Center Test Track and the acquisition of the new Heavy Rail Cars. Ms. Liu stated the OIG maintained its focus on auditing and investigating social service grants to ensure those funds were used appropriately. She explained that OIG had a variety of revenue sources in addition to the General Fund, including the IG fee, Memoranda of Understanding with some of the County’s proprietary departments, and in recent years an interlocal agreement with Miami-Dade County School Board.
Chairwoman Heyman asked Deputy Mayor Genaro Iglesias to provide information pertaining to that percentage of revenue generated from the Inspector General’s contract evaluation services, including who had jurisdiction, the length of time in place, and whether a higher percentage could be assessed on larger projects.
Commissioners Barreiro and visiting Commissioner Jordan expressed their appreciation to Inspector General Mazzella for the excellent service he provided to the County and the OIG.