CCSF finances still need work, report says 

click to enlarge CCSF has been criticized for the operations of its finance department. - CINDY CHEW/S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • cindy chew/s.f. examiner file photo
  • CCSF has been criticized for the operations of its finance department.

Finances at City College of San Francisco are improving, but work in each department still needs to be done, according to a report that will be released this month

The report by the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team examines the Finance and Administrative Department and found numerous ways to be more efficient and improve operations. It did not find fraud.

The board of trustees requested the report, which is a separate look at the specific department. The report is by the same organization whose review of the overall financial health of the college last fall found CCSF could be in peril if drastic changes were not made.

This report, though, specifically examined how the finance department — which includes payroll, accounts payable, budget, capital outlay, information technology and financial aid — operated and will suggest ways to improve and make it more efficient.

"Human resources and payroll are key departments that really need to be functioning as efficiently as possible and they're just not right now," said John Rizzo, president of the board of trustees. "They're very big, key areas of running the district."

The report found organizational problems and the fact that the college is not using available software to help make tasks within the department, such as reporting supply orders, easier, said Michelle Plumbtree, the team's chief management analyst.

Additionally, Plumbtree said, City College has too many people — up to 125 — who have access to payroll; that the college has ideas to build and improve many campuses, but no plan to maintain current buildings; and needs to be more active in pursuing overpayments to employees.

"You need to work harder to get that money back," she told the board of trustees.

Plumbtree did point out that reduction in funding for any group under the Finance and Administration Department meant less staff, but more workload. She suggested some key positions, such as a controller and a chief technology officer, be filled.

Plumbtree recommended training throughout the entire department as well as moving units, such as information technology, to one campus rather than having them spread out among many, and to develop a way to track and monitor who has access to payroll.

The report comes in advance of college officials learning the fate of the institution from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which also ruled last month whether City College did enough to survive its "show cause" sanction or if it will need to close. A decision from that agency is expected to be released next week.

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