The Oakland Housing Authority completed its internal audit into the travel of commissioners and is recommending more oversight.
Executive Director Eric Johnson called for the audit after NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit exposed questionable trips and double-dipping earlier this year
The audit’s recommendations include strengthening internal controls for the “review, approval and processing of all travel requests” and that commissioners fill out more detailed travel forms that clearly detail trip expenses.
The audit reviewed 106 travel reimbursement requests over a three-year period, about $155,000 in travel expenses, and confirmed what the Investigative Unit reported: some commissioners were overpaid and some trips had no explanation of record.
Auditors found commissioners double-dipping: attending conferences with meals provided while also picking up a daily stipend or "per diem" to cover food expenses. The report shows commissioners doing this in 46 of 94 meals provided during the time period, totaling to $1,025.15.
The report also found mathematical errors that resulted in some commissioners overpaying for trips and others, underpaying for things like tips for taxi rides.
Several examples of trips from NBC’s original report were reviewed as well, but the results were inconclusive, calling the amount of money in error “undetermined” and the report stating "no record exists in the file."
Oakland Housing Authority declined the Investigative Unit’s requests to talk on camera but issued this statement:
"OHA has published an audit report regarding our commissioner’s travel expenses. The internal audit relates to the current travel policies of the OHA Board of Commissioners, and in addition to chronicling facts pertaining to submitted travel documentation, the detailed report makes several recommendations for improvement to our reporting processes. OHA has already begun implementing all of the recommendations to improve our procedures and to help prevent errors in the future."