2002 Legislative Audits 

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1. Summary of Report 2002-01: MEDICAL SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

The University of Utah School of Medicine (School of Medicine) has followed a nationwide trend among medical schools to place greater emphasis on subjective admissions criteria. The School of Medicine has placed less emphasis on the objective indicators such as a student's MCAT score and GPA and are focusing more on subjective factors such as a students character, leadership skills, and compassion. In addition, special consideration is given to students who can add diversity to a class of students. The changes in selection criteria, particularly the heightened value of diversity, has altered the demographics of students entering the School of Medicine. Acceptance rates of various under-represented population groups applying to the school have increased while rates for non-minority males, who do not add to the school's diversity, have decreased. Although there is no evidence that unqualified individuals have been admitted to medical school, the school's emphasis on diversity has led to claims by some applicants that they have not been given an equal opportunity.

Full Report - A Performance Audit of Medical School Admissions

Click here to view the Appendices (This is a large file, 50 Meg)

 

2. Summary of Report 2002-02: HOGLE ZOO

Hogle Zoo, in Salt Lake City, Utah, is struggling in several areas. Since 1990, Hogle Zoo has lost 13 percent of its market share with Hogle Zoo's own management consultant reporting their 1999 market share as being low. Most of the animal exhibits at Hogle Zoo are old and in need of replacement. Possibly the state of the animal exhibits has contributed to Hogle Zoo's lost market share. However, constructing new facilities on the current 41 acre site would be an unwise investment unless the current site can be substantially enlarged. Unfortunately, the construction of a $7.7 million entryway on the current site was a poor business decision.

Full Report - A Performance Audit of the Hogle Zoo

 

3. Summary of Report 2002-03: USE OF COLA FUNDS BY HHS LOCAL PROVIDERS

Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for state-contracted local service providers for the Departments of Health (DOH), Human Services (DHS), and Environmental Quality (DEQ), appear to be used properly for employee compensation and operating costs. We do not believe it necessary to have greater state control over the funds' distribution or use. In fact, given the amount of the funding increases, their appropriate uses, and the large number of providers to which funds are dispersed, it may be beneficial to call these funds a provider funding increase and eliminate the designation as a COLA.

Full Report - A Performance Audit of the Use of COLA Funds by HHS Local Providers

 

4. Summary of Report 2002-04: UTAH FOSTER CARE FOUNDATION

The Utah Foster Care Foundation (UFCF) has made some improvements to the foster care system but they have not achieved the ambitious vision for increased numbers of foster homes, volunteers and fund raising. Consequently, compliance with all of the statutory requirements and conditions of the contract has not been perfect. The foundation has provided some valuable services to the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and to the foster care community, but their services are expensive. The organization has existed for three years and perhaps now is the time to review the goals and focus their direction and re-evaluate some activities.

Full Report - A Performance Audit of the Utah Foster Care Foundation

 

5. Summary of Report 2002-05: CHILD WELFARE CASEWORKER WORKLOAD

The Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel asked the Legislative Auditor's Office to do a workload study of the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) caseworkers. The main conclusions of this report are the following:

1. Caseworkers allocate their time to multiple tasks
2. Caseloads of 12 to 15 appear reasonable
3. Some workload areas can be reduced
4. Inconsistencies throughout DCFS should be addressed

Full Report - A Performance Audit of Child Welfare Caseworker Workload

 

6. Summary of Report 2002-06: JUDICIAL CONDUCT COMMISSION

Utah's Judicial Conduct Commission (JCC) is the state's primary avenue for providing judicial accountability but does so in a closed system that primarily disciplines judges in private meetings and hearings. Questions have been raised as to judicial accountability and how that accountability should be balanced with judicial independence to maintain judicial integrity.

Historically, the balance has leaned toward judicial independence with limited public disclosure. Nationally, however, states are turning to more open systems in an attempt to increase public trust in the integrity of the judicial system. Legislative action may be necessary to bring Utah more in line with the majority of other states in providing information to the public in misconduct cases. In Utah only one facet of the system is open to the public: filings, oral arguments, and the results of cases heard before the Utah Supreme Court. The Supreme court sees only a few complaints, those when the JCC recommends a formal order of discipline.

Full Report - A Review of the Judicial Conduct Commission

 

7 . Summary of Report 2002-07: COLLECTING TRANSPORTATION-RELATED REVENUE

The Tax Commission collects transportation-related revenue totaling $554.2 million which are sent to the state General Fund, Transportation Fund and counties. Our audit of the revenues pertaining to the Transportation Fund had two objectives: (1) to validate the reported cost of collecting these transportation-related fees and taxes; and, (2) to examine options for recovering the collection costs. Given current revenue shortfalls, the Tax Commission faces a potential ongoing funding shortfall of $4 million for fiscal year 2004.

The costs of collecting transportation-related revenues were estimated to be about $14.3 million for fiscal year 2002. In our limited review, we examined the expenditures for fiscal year 2002 and verified that the costs listed are directly related to the collection of revenues that feed the Transportation Fund.

The Legislature faces a policy decision of how to recover these collection costs left by the $4 million funding shortfall. Three viable options are presented in the audit:

1. New Revenues - Collect new revenues generated by raising vehicle registration and title fees (comparable to other states), with the increase being retained by the Tax Commission and dedicated to cost recovery.

2. Transportation Fund Revenues - Continue to fund the costs with increased allocations from the Transportation Fund.

3. General Fund Revenues - Use an increase of General Fund appropriations to fund costs, based on historical precedent of the past 10 years.

Full Report - A Performance Audit of Collecting Transportation-related Revenue