2014 Legislative Audits
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1. Summary of Report 2014-01: A Performance Audit of Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA)
This audit focused on the Utah High Schools Activities Association’s (UHSAA) policies and procedures concerning the classification and realignment of high school sports with an emphasis on football. UHSAA needs to improve its documentation concerning classifications and realignment of high school sports and activities. The audit also looked at student eligibility application and appeal processes, finding that UHSAA needs to do the following: inform parents of the reasons an eligibility application is denied, maintain a record of all appeal hearings’ decisions for future reference, and ensure that student appeal hearings comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) disclosure requirements.
2. Summary of Report 2014-02: A Review of Best Practices in Utah School Districts
Best practices are defined as proven, successful methods that lead to high performance. This report describes a three-step process school districts can use to identify and apply best practices: (1) identify high-performing peer institutions, (2) identify the practices that contribute most to that peer’s high performance, and (3) adapt those practices to one’s own school district when appropriate. To demonstrate the benefits of systematically identifying and adopting best practices, this report applies the above steps to five operational areas:
- Food Services
- Pupil Transportation
- Energy Use
- School Security
- Contracted Services
By identifying the best practices and by adapting those methods to their own situation, school districts should be able to improve their operations. The key is for each district to weigh the benefits of adopting a best practice and determining how the practice might be best adapted to its unique set of conditions.
Full Report - A Review of Best Practices in Utah School Districts
3. Summary of Report 2014-03: A Performance Audit of the Governance of Conservation Districts
Each year the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) distributes funding for administration of resource conservation. This report found that the Utah Association of Conservation Districts (UACD) could have done more to develop conservation districts (CDs) capacity with the funding UACD receives from UDAF. UACD has increased their financial reserves by 61 percent over the last 10 years rather than using state and federal funding to support conservation programs. To fulfill statutory responsibilities, a greater emphasis should be placed on the UCC’s role in managing the state conservation funding. Conservation resources should be awarded from UDAF through the UCC to CDs for their proposed projects. The UCC also needs to improve its oversight of CDs’ accountability reports.
4. Summary of Report 2014-04: A Performance Audit of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness
This audit reviewed the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness (BEMSP), which regulates Utah’s emergency medical services market. Bureau regulation of licensed ambulance providers needs to be more effective. Specifically, three specific monitoring activities can improve: 1) Provider goals pertaining to cost, quality, and access for ambulance services need to be established and monitored, 2) more effective financial monitoring is needed, which will require better information and analysis, and (3) equipment reviews need to verify that all minimum standards established in rule are met. In addition, the bureau’s complaint process, which is a tool for identifying provider deficiencies, lacks adequate documentation and clear expectations for ambulance providers and needs to improve. Finally, the bureau also defines provider responsibilities, which need to be clarified. Specifically, the bureau has been slow to alleviate provider overlaps, which creates confusion and conflicts among ambulance providers. Increased clarity can be achieved by providing service area maps and by enforcing the statutory requirement that all service agreements among providers be documented.
5. Summary of Report 2014-05: A Review of Allegations Concerning the Math Textbook Procurement
Based on our review, the Utah Division of Purchasing and General Services (UDP or purchasing) and the Utah Office of the Attorney General (AG) properly followed policies and procedures in responding to math textbook procurement process allegations. Our review confirms their findings that these allegations do not appear to have merit, and there is no credible evidence of wrongdoing. We also believe amendments made to procurement statute by the 2014 Utah State Legislature may help prevent similar protests and improve the procurement process in the future.
6. Summary of Report 2014-06: Performance Audit of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA)
We reviewed two UTA development projects and found questionable decisions and the need for improved processes. For example, against policy, UTA paid a developer $10 million for a future parking structure before designs were in place, and then had difficulty recouping the funds. On a separate project, but with the same developer, UTA agreed to an operating agreement that an independent law firm said was “tipped significantly in favor” of the developer. We also found that UTA currently does not benchmark total compensation, leaving bonuses and special benefits unmeasured. UTA also did not report portions of employee compensation to the transparent.utah.gov website. Further, financial constraints at UTA affect asset upkeep, bus service, and new projects. For example, UTA has only budgeted a portion of a projected $2.9 billion future upkeep expense. Lastly, subsidies vary widely by passenger type and mode, which raises questions of fare equity. Also, UTA needs to improve aspects of its passenger data, and better track customer feedback.
7. Summary of Report 2014-07: A Performance Audit of Interlocal Entities
This audit reviewed interlocal entities: policies and procedures, board oversight, and oversight by the Lieutenant Governor’s office. The entities reviewed were in compliance with statutory requirements while the Lieutenant Governor’s process could be improved by:
- Using a generic email address for sending and receiving interlocal entity information in order to maintain a history.
- The Lieutenant Governor’s office send interlocal entity information to the Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) before a certificate is created.
- The Legislature consider requiring interlocal entities to submit surveyor files (CAD files) with their initial documentation to the Lieutenant Governor’s office.
Full Report -A Performance Audit of Interlocal Entities
8. Summary of Report 2014-08: A Performance Audit of the Utah Fund of Funds
We found that the Utah Fund of Funds' (UFOF) reported economic impact has been overstated and inconsistent. The UFOF lacks a methodology for tracking and reporting economic development data. While the venture capital market in Utah is improving, the impact of the UFOF is unclear because of this insufficient tracking and reporting. We also found that the UFOF’s financing costs have negated all investment gains. But, despite the atypical financing of the UFOF, returns are approaching the breakeven point. Additionally, while the UFOF has not adequately reported investment performance, it has made positive changes to its portfolio in response to the 2008 recession. Finally, the oversight of the UFOF can continue to improve in areas such as the development of comprehensive policies and procedures and documenting and justifying significant bonuses paid.
Full Report - A Performance Audit of the Utah Fund of Funds
9. Summary of Report 2014-09: An In-Depth Budget Review of the Department of Human Services
We reviewed the Department of Human Services as part of an in-depth budget review. We found that they can better control costs and increase the effectiveness of the divisions and the department as a whole with the use of baseline metrics, that can be compared amongst themselves over time and with other states. We reviewed the Juvenile Justice Services (JJS) and found that the recidivism rate is much higher, currently at 53%, when compared to other states and that programming used to positively affect youth behavior requires stronger monitoring from JJS. We also show if the recidivism rate is reduced to 34% over time then JJS can save up to $6 million over time. The Utah State Hospital can reduce per-client costs and implement controls that would help manage risk. Some forensic patients are held for competency restoration longer than allowed by state statute. In addition, procedures for securing and documenting off-site medical care for patients require additional controls.
10. Summary of Report 2014-10: A Performance Audit of the Division of Services for People with Disabilities
This report reviews the Division of Services for People with Disabilities’ (DSPD) budget, policies and management tools addressing additional service allocations, the effect of recent legislation on service delivery, and Utah’s Community Supports Waiver. The audit explains that between 2008 and 2014, DSPD has spent over $1.4 billion in state and federal funds, with costs increasing about 18 percent or $33.6 million. Eighty-six (86) percent of the increase was attributable to an increase in services provided. In reviewing DSPD’s allocation of additional services, we found the process lacks adequate policies to ensure client need has been established through a consistent, standardized process. We also found that DSPD lacks adequate controls to manage these service allocations and should establish an internal process to review individuals’ budgets to ensure clients have access only to services that are needed. Finally, in the 2013 General Legislative Session, Senate Bill 259 (SB259) was passed enabling some individuals with less critical needs to be served before others with more critical needs. SB259 attempted to provide limited respite services to a targeted group, which is not permitted through Utah’s federal waiver. If the Legislature desires to target services to individuals with specific needs, a limited supports waiver should be considered.
11. Summary of Report 2014-11: A Review of Allegations Concerning Utah’s Purchasing Interaction with WSCA-NASPO
Our review found that Utah Purchasing benefits from its participation with the WSCA-NASPO Cooperative Purchasing Organization, and its use of WSCA-NASPO cooperative contracts. In addition, we found the creation of WSCA-NASPO as a nonprofit organization was done appropriately and that WSCA-NASPO is appropriately dealing with its high fund balances. We also have no evidence the director of the Utah Division of Purchasing and General Services financially benefit from his position as the WSCA-NASPO management board chair. Finally, complaints about harm done to local vendors as a result of WSCA-NASPO participation appear to be unfounded as Utah facilitates appropriate participation by all vendors.
12. Summary of Report 2014-12: A Performance Audit of DTS Rates, Customer Service and Staffing
This audit followed up on customer concerns regarding the Department of Technology Services’ (DTS). Customer concerns focused on rates established for DTS services, levels of customer service, and staffing practices. DTS’ management of rates can improve by 1) adopting new goals once prior ones are achieved, 2) ensuring that each rate complies with statute by reflecting the full cost of each service, and 3) implementing an equitable rate structure for application development that accounts for staff experience and cost. Customers also raised concerns about the untimely deployment of computers and accuracy of DTS invoices. DTS has initiated projects to address these issues, which will require future follow-up to verify project outcomes. Lastly, DTS’ staffing practices have generated savings relative to other state agencies. In addition to DTS staff, contactors and IT-knowledgeable staff in state agencies have supplemented rather than replaced staff lost as DTS became more efficient.
13. Summary of Report 2014-13: A Performance Review of the Division of Drinking Water’s Minimum Source Sizing Requirements
We reviewed the Division of Drinking Water’s (DDW) minimum source sizing requirements, which are designed to ensure safe and reliable public drinking water systems. Individuals from the residential development community have criticized the source sizing as excessive resulting in unnecessary water-related costs. Although we found that the indoor requirements appear too high, the state’s outdoor requirements appear too low. We also found several sections in the rule where clarification is needed. In particular, the steps for receiving a reduction to the source sizing requirements needs additional clarification. A review of and update to the state source sizing requirements is recommended to ensure that water systems are able to optimize resources as well as the adequacy of their water supply.
14. Summary of Report 2014-14:A Follow-up Review of the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR)
In a two-part review of USTAR, we found that USTAR continues to work to implement all recommendations from our October 2013 audit of the initiative. We also found some issues with USTAR’s key performance metrics, including: unavailable or changing data, inaccurate or inconsistent information, and a lack of clarity as to what should be included in metric reports. We believe the cause of issues with USTAR’s metrics is the lack of a rigorous data collection process. USTAR can improve the accuracy of its data by: clearly defining metric definitions and count methodologies, implementing required reporting forms and formats, enacting required reporting timeframes, and requiring its partners to provide access to source documentation.