NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Northwest Florida Water Management District's Operation Protocol Flaws

October 27, 2015

The Northwest Florida Water Management District (NFWMD) is responsible for managing and sustaining water resources for 16 Florida counties. Yet according to an operation audit, the agency's operations require improvement.

For one, the duties of permit fee collection and recordkeeping in respect to the money collected from those fees were insufficiently separated. Although there was no evidence of error or waste in the report, the conflation of collection and recordkeeping increases the probability of error or fraud not being detected in a timely manner.

Furthermore, the auditor determined that the NFWMD acted against state law by paying a $20,662 bonus to an employee after services had been rendered, had established a bonus program without obtaining approval from its governing board of representatives (Board), and that employees eligible for bonuses had not been notified ahead of time.

Another issue uncovered was a failure to conduct employee performance evaluations in a timely manner. Additionally, NFWMD is legally required to provide for an annual financial audit by a certified public accountant. However, the NFWMD erred in 2013 by not selecting the highest-ranked qualified public accounting firm for the audit, for not entering into public record the reasons behind its decision and by including members of management on the audit committee, which is a conflict of interest.

The NFWMD should address its shortcomings by disentangling fee collection and recordkeeping procedures, ensure that future bonus programs are approved by the Board, ensure that performance reviews are done according to schedule and exclude management from the audit committee and publically state its reasons for selecting a public accountant.

Source: "Northwest Florida Water Management District," State of Florida Auditor General, September 2015.


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