The Atlanta City Auditor’s Office undertook the audit of the Office of Buildings’ Inspections and Enforcement Division at the request of the City Council. The Inspections and Enforcement Division is responsible for investigating complaints and potential violations of the city’s building and zoning codes.
On February 7, 2022, the Atlanta City Council unanimously accepted and filed the report with little to no discussion regarding the findings.
According to city documents, a sample of findings and observations offered by the Auditor’s include:
- Zoning and building code enforcement responsibilities lack clarity to the general public due to organizational and functional changes since 2011, which have not been clarified on the Department of City Planning’s website or in the city code. In addition, the Planning’s Inspections and Enforcement Division has some overlapping responsibilities with the Atlanta Police Department’s Code Enforcement Section, which causes confusion for both the public and city staff.
- Planning’s Inspections and Enforcement Division has not maintained complete information on complaints in Accela and not all complaints have been entered into the system resulting in incomplete inspection and case closure dates and making the data unreliable for measuring progress performance standards.
- Inconsistent practices in handling complaints have occurred due to the absence of written procedures that reflect the division’s current practices.
The following are a few of the recommendations offered by the Auditors:
- The Commissioner of City Planning and the Police Chief should work together to transfer all zoning enforcement responsibilities from the Inspections and Enforcement Division in the Office of Buildings to Police’s Code Enforcement Section to improve effectiveness and alleviate confusion.
- Further, the Commissioner of City Planning and the Police Chief should work together to align zoning enforcement responsibilities under Police’s Code Enforcement Section. Initially both departments receptive to consolidating responsibilities, however, the Planning Department, has since expressed reluctance to the move due to plans to restructure the Inspections and Enforcement Division with adequate staff and because the Planning Department houses historical documentation needed to conduct zoning research.
- More effective supervision would improve the quality of the data in Accela and reduce the risk of fraud. The Commissioner of City Planning should update complaint information in Accela to ensure that all cases are entered and update the status of cases.