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UPDATE: City director disagrees with all auditor recommendations

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UPDATE: Richmond City Auditor Umesh Dalal said he is still waiting for official word from the city that it agrees with all recommendations his office made in an audit of the Richmond Department of Information Technology RAPIDS system.

Sharon Judkins, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer of finance and administration, oversees Richmond’s IT department.

She previously rejected all of the recommendations made by Dalal, and then accepted three out of the seven recommendations.

Judkins was not in attendance at Tuesday’s audit committee meeting where the recommendations were discussed once again, but her boss, Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall was there, along with the new head of the IT department.

Marshall insinuated to the audit committee that he’s implemented the recommendations, but Dalal told CBS6 that he is waiting to receive written documentation that Marshall agrees with the recommendations.


RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The person in charge of implementing Richmond’s new $18 million information technology system disagreed with every single one of the city auditor’s recommendations in an audit of the Richmond Department of Information Technology RAPIDS system released Monday.

It is an audit that city council members have been requesting since May of 2012, ever since CBS6 interviewed a city hall whistleblower who called the project an enormous waste of taxpayer money.

RAPIDS is software designed to streamline city finances, but, according to the audit, employees are not properly trained on the system, invoices are not being paid on time, and employee leave is not being calculated accurately.

The city auditor also said in the report that his office faced significant challenges due to a lack of cooperation by the city.

Older story:

In fact, Sharon Judkins, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer of finance and administration and the person overseeing the project, tried to stop the audit, citing excessive cost and a strain on city resources.

Richmond City Council President Charles Samuels said it felt like the city’s administration tried to stonewall city council.

“It’s one of the things that I would say is the most frustrating that I’ve had to deal with in my time as a city council person, and that is requesting information and not getting it in a timely manner from the administration,” Samuels said.

Judkins said that is not true.

“There was no delay from our side except for the one instance we had to validate and make sure there were not legal ramifications of which we were going to be non-compliant,” Judkins said.

She rejected all of the recommendations made by the auditor saying they are already in place.

She even went so far as to criticize the auditor’s tactics.

“The auditor picked 23 people who obviously said what he wanted them to say,” Judkins said.

As for the actual cost of the project to taxpayers, the auditor found it impossible to verify expenses.

Judkins, though, told CBS 6 she is under budget.

“Right now we’ve expended $15.9 million of the $18 million,” Judkins said.

Although, after looking over the audit, IT expert Mike Gregory,who is the president of Factory 7 LLC, said he does not foresee the project actually coming in under budget.

“Ideally, with proper planning, you’ll save money, but as we’ve seen with other programs in the past, these things tend to cost a lot more than they were originally intended to cost,” Gregory said.

The audit committee asked the auditor to revise his recommendations.

Those will be presented in January or February.


  • anonymous

    Richmond does do some things well. Training entry level civil servants especially. Everything from bus drivers, teachers, police, and administrative and professional positions. This allows the surrounding counties to be more selective in their hiring process. There is no shortage of personnel, currently working for the City, who’d rather be in a more positive environment, with more compensation! Chesterfield and Henrico are more than willing to grab up the winners!

  • david nunnally

    The next to last sentence refers to the “audit committee” but without explaining who/what that committee is. Is that the 23 people the auditor picked? Something is missing here.

  • anonymous

    The audit committee consists of two city council members and four citizen members with various backgrounds (ie audit, law, finance, IT, etc.)

  • R. B. Moffett

    Having worked before retirement as a senior IT audit technical consultant in a major audit organization with nationwide responsibilities for complex, mission-critical IT and data communications systems, I know from experience that auditee management is expected by all audit criteria of which I am aware to respond to all audit findings and, if such is available, certainly may provide credible empirical, verifiable evidence to refute any or all of them.

    For Ms. Judkins to unilaterally reject all the adverse findings out-of-hand without providing access and empirical evidence to refute them, however, is not an acceptable practice in any properly managed enterprise – public or private. Absent verifiable evidence to the contrary, the original findings must stand and be remedied in a timely manner. Further, the expectation of executive management in all well-managed enterprises is that the General Auditor and his or her staff will, without question, be provided the access and information needed to perform their duties. Apparently the executives in City Government do not support either of these principles which are absolutely crucial to an auditor’s ability to do his or her job which is to determine whether there is reasonable assurance that adequate internal controls exist and systems operate as-intended, in a secure manner, effectively, and efficiently.

    Based on what WTVR is reporting, it appears there is an attempt to obstruct the auditor and prevent disclosure of information adverse to the agendas and reputations of management in order to conceal the waste of tax revenue.

    This is a clear example of why a proposal to allow City Council – not the Audit Committee – to cancel planned audits was unwise. From the report, had Ms. Judkins had her way, this audit would have been cancelled and taxpayers would not have discovered the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness inherent in the RAPIDS projejct.

    Kudos to Mr. Dalal and his staff.

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