Department of Water Management Overtime Monitoring Audit Follow-Up

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed a follow-up to its March 2020 audit of the Department of Water Management’s (DWM) overtime monitoring. Based on the Department’s responses, OIG concludes that DWM has fully implemented 7 of 13 corrective actions related to the audit findings, substantially implemented 3, and partially implemented 3.

The purpose of the 2020 audit was to determine if DWM effectively monitored overtime to prevent waste and abuse. Our audit found that DWM had policies and tools to manage overtime but did not use these resources consistently. DWM management could not ensure overtime was offered in accordance with collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and established practices because it was unaware of the full range of overtime processes in use across the Department, did not provide robust oversight, and did not consistently retain overtime records.

Based on the results of the audit, OIG recommended that DWM update and distribute its overtime policies to supervisors and timekeepers; provide training to supervisors; and use existing monitoring reports to inform Department-wide operational decisions about overtime. We also recommended that the Department develop and implement procedures to ensure compliance with the policy; continue developing internal reporting tools to provide a real-time view of overtime within its bureaus; and consider distributing the policy to all DWM employees. Lastly, we recommended that DWM take steps to improve the consistency, transparency, and fairness of the overtime process by identifying, documenting, and standardizing overtime call-out processes; ensuring overtime records are properly retained; and updating transfer documentation. In its response to the audit, DWM described corrective actions it would take.

In October 2020, OIG inquired about the status of corrective actions taken by DWM, and followed up again with the Department as it took further corrective action in December 2020 and January 2021. OIG concludes that DWM has made progress on the audit’s recommendations, fully implementing over half of them and substantially or partially implementing the rest. Specifically, DWM has updated and begun distributing its overtime policy; begun operationalizing a new overtime reporting tool; standardized some overtime call-out processes; and made improvements to its transfer request form design, processing, and retention. Once fully implemented, OIG believes the corrective actions reported by DWM may reasonably be expected to resolve the core findings noted in the audit. We urge the Department to distribute its revised overtime policy to all employees; fully catalog its various overtime call-out processes from beginning to end, in order to streamline or consolidate such processes; complete its update of document retention policies; and provide additional guidance to employees on the transfer request process as needed.