(Rachael Garner/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)

Report: Private security company failed to fulfill SFMTA contract

The private security company hired to protect San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency employees failed to fulfill its contract in four key areas, according to a report released Thursday.

Cypress Security LLC was paid for 34 hours of security services over an eight-week period during the 2015-16 fiscal year that weren’t supported by time records, according to an audit report from the Office of the Controller’s City Services Auditor Division.

Training records for 24 out of 28 guards examined during the same period didn’t comply with annual training requirements, the report said.

This calls into question whether or not payments related to the 24 guards’ activities – about $41,500 – should have been made during the 2015-16 fiscal year, according to the audit report.

Also, Cypress couldn’t demonstrate that its three subcontractors comply with liability insurance and minimum compensation requirements, nor could the company demonstrate its own or its subcontractors’ compliance with health benefit requirements, the audit report said.

The contract compliance audit was done by Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting, Inc., at the behest of the city auditor.

The security guards of Cypress Security LLC are employed to protect fare collectors, who are thought to be at risk because they carry money. The hope is that the guards will deter potential bad actors.

The report’s findings are especially significant due to the fact that four San Francisco supervisors voted against renewing Cypress’s $38 million security contract in April 2015, expressing skepticism about the amount of training that the armed security guards undergo.

The supervisors – David Campos, Malia Cohen, Jane Kim and John Avalos – were outvoted, as the majority voted to have Cypress continue. Cohen and Kim are still on the board, while Campos and Avalos are no longer supervisors.

The four supervisors who opposed renewing the contract also expressed doubts about the effectiveness of firearms, in comparison to non-lethal weapons, in deterring crime against Muni employees.

The audit had a total of 10 recommendations for Muni oversight to make Cypress comply with its contract requirements.

In general, Muni should work with Cypress to hold subcontractors accountable for late shift starts and make sure Muni is charged only for hours worked by strengthening the use of the call log, the report said.

Muni should make sure Cypress submits quarterly training updates and read the reports. The transit agency should also consider amendments to the contract to ensure the City is protected from damages incurred by subcontractors, the report said.

Also, the report recommended that Muni work with the city’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement to make sure Cypress and its subcontractors comply with minimum compensation and health benefits requirements.MuniTransit

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