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Official calls lack of accountability in Richmond’s public sector ‘appalling’

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–The City of Richmond’s top investigator said 70 percent of all recommendations  made to the city by his office, to fix problems discovered through audits, have not been put to use.

Auditor Umesh Dalal told the city’s audit committee that 205 of the auditor’s 283 recommendations made to the city before December 31, 2013 remain open, meaning they have yet to be implemented.

Alex Lee lives in the city and pays Richmond taxes. Lee told CBS 6 he is baffled by those numbers.

“Why are we having this guy tell us things that are wrong and basically ignoring them?” Lee asked.

Audit committee chairman, Nicholas Valdrighi said he understands Lee’s points, especially after seeing Dalal’s report.

“If that’s what they’re going to do [not use recommendations], I don’t know what we’re doing –costing taxpayers money,” Valdrighi said.

Valdrighi said the lack of accountability in Richmond’s public sector is “appalling.”

“We’re undergoing culture change, it’s going to be tough,” Valdrighi said.

Councilwoman Kathy Graziano said changes need to start with the audit committee.

“Perhaps we haven’t been doing follow through on a lot of these…some go back to 2004,” Graziano said.

To encourage change, the audit committee will now ask each department with recommendations to return to the committee monthly to discuss their status.

“What we’re going to begin to do is make people accountable,” Graziano said.

CBS6 reached out to the city’s Chief Administrative Officer, Byron Marshall, to find out what he is doing to address the issue, but we never heard back from him.

We will continue to follow up with the CAO to get you answers.