2008 Legislative Audits
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1. Summary of Report 2008-01 : A Performance Audit of the Committee of Consumer Services
This audit found that the statutory structure and organizational placement of the Committee of Consumer Services (CCS) needs Legislative review. A review of other boards within the state showed that the board's structure is not congruent with other policy making boards in technical fields. In addition, the current placement of the CCS within the Department of Commerce's Division of Public Utilities is not in accordance with statute due to the CCS' inherent conflict of interest with the Division of Public Utilities. We also examined the CCS' budget and found that overall; the CCS has spent funds according to their budget. However, trends in the amount of funds lapsing from its Operating fund to its Professional and Technical fund may justify a review of appropriated amounts to each fund. Finally, the audit found that the CCS needs to develop policies and procedures and should make more efforts to document and monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations.
2. Summary of Report 2008-02 : A Performance Audit of the Carson Smith Scholarship for Students with Special Needs
The Carson Smith Scholarship for Students with Special Needs provides financial assistance to families with special needs children. The scholarship pays for all or a portion of the tuition at one of 39 eligible private schools. We observed that program growth is slowing and that the Legislature, through funding, should determine whether to maintain, increase, or reduce the size of the program. Also, districts allocate their own resources to program management. Finally, we found that the program is meeting its program goals as measured by parental approval.
3. Summary of Report 2008-03 : A Performance Audit of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA)
This audit found that passenger data UTA uses to manage the transit system has been unreliable but that overall transit use has increased over the past decade. UTA should adopt better statistical methods and move from a manual to an automated counting system, to improve the quality of its passenger data. A review of UTA's budget growth revealed that expansion of rail systems has led to a significant increase in budget. In addition, sales tax is largely replacing federal grants as the primary funding source. The audit also found that UTA executive salaries and bonuses are high compared to those of other transit agencies. The audit recommends that UTA develop a watch list to monitor low performing bus routes that do not meet minimum service standards, and develop a fare pricing strategy to minimize the burden placed on taxpayers who subsidize 83% of the cost of transit. We also found that UTA's impact on air quality and traffic congestion is small, where only 4.5% of commuters use transit. Finally, the audit recommends that the Legislature consider increasing its oversight of UTA to hold the agency more accountable for its use of public funds.
Full Report - A Performance Audit of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA)
4. Summary of Report 2008-04 : A Performance Audit of the Utah State Hospital
The Utah State Hospital's (State Hospital's) quality of care is good overall. The State Hospital compared reasonably well within common performance measures, and our consultant believes the State Hospital's quality of care is as good as, and in some cases, superior to that offered in other state hospitals. While quality of care is good, the availability of bed space varies by unit at the State Hospital. Demand for forensic beds exceeds availability, while pediatric beds appear to have excess capacity. The current number of adult beds appears sufficient.
Full Report - A Performance Audit of the Utah State Hospital
5. Summary of Report 2008-05 : Follow-Up of A Performance Audit of the Utah Department of Corrections
The Department of Corrections has implemented or is in the process of implementing each of the 14 recommendations made in our December 2006 report. Department management has taken positive steps to curtail the appearance of favoritism, improve their oversight and controls, and bolster the independence of the internal audit and internal affairs bureaus. However, we did find that some improvement is still needed in tracking officers' annual training, and monitoring compliance with the reserve officer policy.
This audit found that the 2004 corporate restructuring of Davis Behavioral Health (DBH) was costly for the organization. Instead of generating excess revenues, the new corporations cost DBH about $850,000. DBH should examine its continuing operation of the functions of the new corporations to determine how they can be more efficiently run. We also found that there is a potential conflict of interest in DBH's IT oversight, but pending contract amendments could remedy this problem. The IT system, despite a difficult start, is improving and becoming more accepted.
Full Report - A Performance Audit of Davis Behavioral Health
7. Summary of Report 2008-07 : A Performance Audit of the Division of Securities
Our evaluation of the division's administrative processes was initiated as a result of allegations made by those investigated by the division. They contend that the division's investigations have procedural errors, that staff has been overzealous in their pursuit of securities violations, and that they have not received fair treatment. We found the division did not have written policies and procedures guiding the process which led to some questionable management decisions. Insufficient policies and procedures have also resulted in inadequate guidance, poor communication, and increased internal conflicts. The division needs to establish policies and procedures defining the role of the various participants involved in enforcing securities laws. The roles of the division director and presiding officer need a clear separation between investigative and adjudicative functions. Policies and procedures are also needed to address the role of the attorney general, the role of the advisory board, and provide clear guidance on how cases should be managed.
Full Report - A Performance Audit of the Division of Securities
Past UDC contract management inadequacies have contributed to jail escapes. In some cases, the department was aware of security and operational concerns at some contracted county jails that house state inmates, but they did not ensure that needed improvements were made. To correct these concerns, we recommend that UDC: 1) adequately define their authority in the jail contract, 2) improve their monitoring of the jail contract, and 3) more adequately follow up on and enforce any deficiencies found in the jails.
Full Report - A Performance Audit of Utah's Jail Contracting Program
9. Summary of Report 2008-09 : A Performance Audit of Adult Education Services
This audit found that the three organizations, the Utah State Office of Education's Adult Education Program, the Department of Workforce Services, and the Utah College of Applied Technology, deliver relatively unique services to their clients and that the organizations are partnering together to reduce gaps in their services. The audit also found that the Adult Education Program is not complying with the requirements that state funding be spent on Utah residents and individuals legally residing in the United States. Finally, the audit found issues with allocation formula used by the Adult Education Program. The formula promotes redundant high school completion by awarding school districts for having a student earn both a GED and a diploma. In addition, the formula also does not align with all state policies.
Full Report - A Performance Audit of Adult Education Services
10. Summary of Report 2008-10 : An In-Depth Follow-Up Audit of the Office of the Guardian ad Litem
The November 2008 in-depth follow-up audit of the Office of the Guardian ad Litem found that increased funding from the Legislature has contributed to program improvements such as reduced caseloads and increased fulfillment of statutory duties. Improvement is still needed in developing useful and reliable case management systems, in seeking and collecting fees, and in effectively using support staff resources. The GAL program may benefit from more legislative guidance on 1) the definition of a GAL attorney's responsibility to advocate a child's "best interest," and 2) the appropriate use of GALs in district court cases. Finally, while the Guardian ad Litem Oversight Committee was created to buffer the Judicial Council's involvement with the GAL Office, the Legislature has still not changed the Judicial Council's responsibility to directly supervise the GAL Office.
11. Summary of Report 2008-11 : A Performance Audit of School Busing
This audit found that standards relating to bus drivers need to be strengthened and compliance ensured. Specifically, the evaluation and monitoring of motor vehicle records, and the review of criminal background checks for bus drivers need to be improved. Also, school districts and the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) need to enhance the physical assessment requirements of bus drivers and ensure that drivers are up to date on mandated training each year. The audit found that the oversight of busing operations can be improved by the USOE and that the distribution formula for school busing operations presents some concerns because of inaccurate or inconsistent data being reported by school districts. Inconsistent data hinders the use of performance measures by the USOE to improve operations throughout the state. The audit also found that the capacity utilization of school buses can be improved and that the depreciation of buses should be revised. Finally, the audit recommends that the State Board of Education address the issues of buses being rented for non-pupil transportation and school buses traveling over state lines primarily because of the potentially significant liability risks.
Full Report - A Performance Audit of School Busing
12. Summary of Report 2008-12: A Performance Audit on the Use of Mineral-Related Funds in Uintah Basin
The justification is not very compelling for supporting past Uintah Basin county assertions that more money is needed to mitigate damage to county roads. First, Uintah County received $134.6 million during the five years reviewed, making it the largest recipient of mineral-related money; Duchesne County received $36.9 million, making it the fifth largest recipient. Second, the counties' use of mineral-related money is not heavily allocated toward roads. Both Uintah and Duchesne counties devoted around 42 percent of all mineral-related money to roads. Finally, discretionary income available within two Uintah Basin transportation special service districts appears relatively large and, for the most part, rising.
13. Summary of Report 2008-13: A Performance Audit of School Building Construction
The evaluation of school building construction reviewed the procurement process, school building costs, and the size and space utilization of new school buildings constructed since 2006. This audit found that nine of 21 school districts surveyed have not adequately fostered competition in procuring architectural services for new school buildings. Several situations exist where the criteria developed to evaluate proposals and bids have not been equally applied throughout the evaluation process. School construction costs have increased annually since 2006, but Utah school buildings generally cost less than neighboring states' school buildings. The USOE had provided recommended guidelines for the space per student for school buildings. A majority of new elementary school buildings and high school buildings exceed those guidelines.
Full Report - A Performance Audit of School Building Construction