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Council Releases Report on OTR

Update, 4:45 p.m.: D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi said today he will adopt one of the report's key recommendations and create a new position: Chief Risk Officer.

Original post: The D.C. Council today released its investigation of the Office of Tax and Revenue's nearly $50 million scandal, saying there was no real system of checks and balances, which is what allowed Harriett Walters's scheme to flourish.

In September Walters pleaded guilty to taking more than $48 million from the District as a low-level manager in the Real Property Tax administration.

"Walter's scheme was not highly sophisticated; to the contrary, it was rudimentary," according to the report presented to the Council by Bill McLucas of the lawfirm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in conjunction with Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP. "When we interviewed her, Walters mused repeatedly that she had been hiding in plain sight. OTR essentially had no formal policies and procedures in place to ensure the integrity of real property tax refunds."

The report also said that OTR has had a "snitches get stiches" culture, essentially one that threatened anyone inclined to blowing the whistle.

The council's investigation was one of three launched in the wake of the scandal, which came to light late last year. Authorities have since concluded that Walters had been stealing from the city for 20 years.

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) said the city has worked to create more checks and balances since last year but noted that more change still needs to be made.

Hamil R. Harris

By Marcia Davis  |  December 15, 2008; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety , D.C. Council  
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Comments

Thanks for your report. Is there a link to this report so that the DC taxpayers can read what happened?

Posted by: dimonicquo | December 15, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Ohhh, my, my, my, my, my, MY...

Folks read this carefully. The District already HAS a Chief Risk Officer that is a cabinet level position reporting to the Mayor and is paid in excess of 100k/year.

The hitch is, she doesn't know anything about risk mitigation, innovative risk transfer strategies, dynamic portfolio management systems (bonds or stocks), loss data information management systems, or how to manage the operational risk exposures of the District (which includes property & fiscal theft). She doesn't even know what enterprise risk management is. This office is responsible for publishing a District Risk Map to the Mayor and the Council to draw a comprehensive picture of the Districts loss exposure and provide strategies on how to avoid them or mitigate the damages.

I invite you to read about the D.C. Office of Risk Management:

http://orm.dc.gov/orm/cwp/view.asp?a=1386&Q=598566&ormNav=|32979|


Read it, then ask yourself this, if we HAVE a Chief Risk Officer then why are we hiring another one? When someone refers to the District's Chief Risk Officer, who will they be speaking of? Which one? How can you have two chiefs of the same function?

Is this consistent with a government that is seeking to run more "efficiently"? Duplicating positions?

The citizens have every right to question the Mayor and the City Administrator on this.

The truth is, the current Chief Risk Officer is not competent in Risk Management. Instead of getting rid of this inefficient and ineffective agency head and acquiring one that would EARN their salary in a respectable manner, the Mayor is seeking to add more bloat to an already bloated District government leadership.

Pathetic. Just Pathetic.

It is your tax dollars, I guess if you don't care, nobody else should.


Posted by: concernedaboutdc | December 15, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

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