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Audit Audit of the Wellesley Housing Authority

The audit of the Wellesley Housing Authority examines its compliance with regulations for unit inspections, tenant eligibility, purchasing, and inventory, and examines the period of January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016.

Binder organization: Office of the State Auditor
Date published: May 30, 2018

Executive Summary

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted an audit of the Wellesley Housing Authority for the period January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016. Because of the results of our audit planning procedures, it was necessary to extend our audit period in the area of inventory through May 1, 2017.

In this performance audit, we reviewed and assessed certain aspects of the Authority’s operations related to administrative expenses, annual unit inspections, tenant eligibility, applicant waiting lists, procurement of goods and services, board governance, inventory of fixed assets, compliance with applicable reporting requirements, and the Authority’s management agreement with the Needham Housing Authority.

Below is a summary of our findings and recommendations, with links to each page listed.

Finding 1
 

Deficiencies in the Wellesley Housing Authority’s inventory process resulted in unaccounted-for assets.

Recommendations
 

  1. The Authority should update its formal written policies and procedures governing all aspects of its inventory process as well as monitoring controls to ensure that this process is adhered to.
  2. The Authority should conduct an inventory of all ranges and refrigerators, reconcile it to the current inventory list, and investigate any discrepancies.

Finding 2
 

The Wellesley Housing Authority did not properly administer the procurement of $113,206 of appliances and water heaters.

Recommendation
 

The Authority should update its formal written procurement policies and procedures, which require it to use competitive procurement, as far as possible, for goods and services, and should ensure that these policies and procedures are adhered to.

Finding 3
 

The Authority did not maintain housing inspection reports.

Recommendations
 

  1. The Authority should establish policies and procedures for its unit inspection process.
  2. The Authority should establish monitoring controls over the inspection process to ensure that its staff consistently adheres to the policies and procedures.
  3. The Authority should retain copies of all inspection reports in its files.

Finding 4
 

The Authority did not properly administer its rent redetermination process.

Recommendation
 

The Authority should develop and implement policies and procedures for its rent redetermination process that are consistent with Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) regulations and should implement monitoring controls to ensure that its staff consistently adheres to these requirements.

Finding 5
 

The Authority did not maintain its waiting list information or obtain all the required information from housing applicants in DHCD’s prescribed manner.

Recommendations
 

  1. Until it obtains a waiver from DHCD, the Authority should maintain hardcopy program waiting list ledgers.
  2. The Authority should ensure that housing applications are date- and time- stamped; that they include emergency applications when applicable, as well as control numbers and landlord references; and that written offers for housing are accepted within the prescribed timeframe.
  3. The Authority should establish policies, procedures, and monitoring controls over the application process to ensure that all information required during the process is obtained according to DHCD requirements.
  4. The Authority should assign an employee the responsibility of accepting applications and ensuring that each application complies with DHCD regulations.

Finding 6
 

The Authority’s board of commissioners did not properly administer its management agreement with the Needham Housing Authority.

Recommendation
 

Before awarding or entering into a management agreement, the Authority should submit it to DHCD for review and approval.

A PDF copy of the audit of the Wellesley Housing Authority is available here.

Abbreviations

CMR

Code of Massachusetts Regulations

DHCD

Department of Housing and Community Development

LHA

local housing authority

OSA

Office of the State Auditor

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