Jacksonville Inspector General James Hoffman

Inspector general processes 103 complaints in 2016-17

Audit found potential savings of $90,000 in city cellphone use.
By: 
Jan. 12, 2018

The Jacksonville Office of Inspector General in fiscal year 2016-17 received 103 complaints submitted by city and independent authority employees and the public.

The office closed 69 cases created from those and previous complaints and filed 12 reports comprising two audits, five contract oversight observations and five reports of findings following investigations.

One of the audits — a study of the city’s cellphone inventory — identified potential savings of nearly $90,000 related to devices with little or no activity, cost overages or terminated employees, of which about $41,000 was agreed to by city management.

The five reports issued by the OIG Investigative Unit, based on issues raised about city and JEA employees, resulted in 22 recommendations for corrective action focused on improving outdated or nonexistent policies and procedures.

In addition, JEA received more than $10,000 in court-ordered restitution and monetary recoveries related to investigations of employee misconduct, such as conducting private business using the public utility’s resources.

Those are the highlights of the annual report for the year ended Sept. 30 by Inspector General James Hoffman.

“This past fiscal year will stand out as it represents the most consistent and stable manning the OIG has enjoyed since its creation,” he wrote in the report directed to “the Citizens of Jacksonville and the elected officials, officers and employees of the Consolidated Government.”

The audits, detailed investigation reports and other information, including a portal to report a suspected violation, are available at coj.net/oig.

The OIG was established by ordinance in October 2014 to evaluate city operations and processes and investigate allegations of waste, fraud, theft, bribery, contract mismanagement or other violations of law.

Employees who submit disclosures of such violations are protected from retaliatory acts associated with the disclosure under the state Whistleblower Protection Act and a supplemental city ordinance.

Hoffman is the third inspector general, succeeding Thomas Cline, the first chief executive who was hired in July 2015 and served 10 months in the office; and former city Chief Assistant General Counsel Steve Rohan, who served on an interim basis after Cline resigned until Hoffman took over the office on June 1, eight months into the fiscal year covered by the report.

The document traces the history of the office, from its inception with no full-time employees to the present staff of eight full-time employees and one part-time employee.

In addition to Hoffman, a retired U.S. Navy officer and attorney, the staff includes a deputy inspector general, finance and intake unit manager, auditor, contract oversight specialist, three investigators and a part-time administrative assistant, who also serves as an investigative analyst.

The report also includes an overview of the office’s budget and oversight growth.

The initial appropriation for 2014-15 was $206,319 for four approved positions and jurisdiction over only the core city government departments.

The following year, voters approved a referendum on the March 2015 ballot that added jurisdiction over JEA, the airport, transportation and port authorities and Duval County’s property appraiser, supervisor of elections and tax collector.

Three positions were added that year and the budget was increased to $811,371.

In 2017, the independent authorities began contributing to the OIG budget, which increased to $937,767 and added another full-time investigator and a part-time executive assistant.

The office’s appropriation in the city’s 2017-18 budget is $999,768, a 7 percent increase, primarily as a result of pension reform, according to the report.

Plans for the coming year include completion of audits of the city Office of Sports and Entertainment and of the city’s payroll and timekeeping processes and policies.

In addition, Hoffman and his staff will seek accredited status through the Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.