2013 Informal Letter Reports

Report 2013-A: Scholarships Named for Sitting Chairs at the University of Utah

Summary: There appear to be few scholarships named for sitting department chairs at the University of Utah (the U of U). Further, a survey of comparable institutions revealed that few institutions have any policies prohibiting or even addressing scholarships named for sitting chairs. Nonetheless, the U of U’s Development Office may want to increase oversight if the situation of an unrestricted donation being placed in a sitting chair’s named scholarship arises again.

Report 2013-B: A Review of Retirement Pensions of $100,000 or More

Summary: Twenty-one current retirees (.044 percent of all 48,000 current retirees) were identified as receiving an annual retirement pension from the Utah Retirement System (URS) equaling or exceeding $100,000. Of these, the retirement pension appeared reasonable given the retiree’s years of service, job title, and final average salary (an average of the retiree’s two or three highest salary years, depending on the retirement system). Consequently, we do not believe that further audit work is necessary.

Report 2013-C: A Limited Review of the Electronic High School

Summary: In fiscal years 2011 and 2012, over 36,000 Utah students enrolled in on-line classes at the Electronic High School. Our review of performance metrics for 2012 showed that about 60 percent of the classes were successfully completed for a total of 5,690 full credits earned, and the average cost per credit was $454. Our review of school operations showed serious oversight weaknesses that need to be fixed. EHS lacks internal controls for purchases made through their fiscal agent and some of the purchases made violated administrative rules. Other concerns include the amount of Driver Education Tax funds used, the lack of policy and procedures, and the lack of communication with other schools’ counselors.

Report 2013-D: A Limited Review of Cemetery Maintenance District Operations

Summary: Records integrity and sound policies and procedures underlie the value of cemetery services.  Our limited review found that cemeteries are not complying with the statutory recording requirements for plot burial right ownership.  For many other cemetery recordkeeping functions, municipal cemeteries lack formal standards, and the level of detail and security of their records greatly varies.  Related to burial right access, cemeteries appear to handle sales of such rights consistently: on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Report 2013-E: A Limited Review of Retirement Pensions

Summary: Within the Utah Retirement System (URS), 50,900 retirees receive a pension less than $100,000. In fact, 49,693 retirees (97.6 percent) receive an annual pension less than $50,000. These retirement pensions are understandable given the average years of service and final average salaries (an average of the retiree’s two or three highest salary years, depending on the retirement system) of the current retirees.

Report 2013-F: A Review of PEHP's Reinsurance Practices

Summary: The Public Employees’ Health Program (PEHP) has improved its reinsurance practices. PEHP now manages the reinsurance program on a prospective basis and rates are determined independently for each participating risk pool. Specific stop-loss coverage levels are now actuarially determined. Also, reinsurance reserves are within the recommended guidelines.