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Reviewing Relations Between Cincinnati Departments And Private Foundations

Two recent city audits raise concerns about the interaction between private foundations and city departments. Such activities were flagged as concerns in reports on the Metropolitan Sewer District and the parks department.  

Now the city's internal audit committee is recommending a review of all foundations benefiting the city.  
[Read more: Audit says Cincinnati Parks needs more accountability.]

Chairman Jim Goetz spoke to a City Council committee Tuesday.

"Now that we've seen issues with both Metropolitan Sewer District and with parks, we ought to at least take a look at these other two to evaluate if some of those same concerns might be present in any other foundation," Goetz said.

City officials said private foundation dollars also benefit the recreation division and the Fire Department.  

The goal is to make sure transactions are transparent and private donors to these groups are not being given special treatment if they are bidding on city work.

"We recommend that the city establish clear rules and guidelines for how the city and its employees will interact with, or participate in, the activities of public charities and foundations whose purpose is primarily for the benefit of a city department, city division or city-owned asset," Goetz said.

The city manager could adopt any recommendations as part of the administrative regulations, or council could pass an ordinance to implement any changes.

Cincinnati's internal audit committee has been busy this summer getting reorganized and deciding how it should operate going forward. The group had been idle for several years so it has lots to do.