2016 Legislative Audits
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1. Summary of Report 2016-01: A Performance Audit of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole
We were asked to evaluate whether Utah’s Board of Pardons and Parole appropriately uses its authority. Specifically, we found that the board needs to improve its planning, oversight, and structure to ensure desirable public safety and criminal justice outcomes are achieved. In addition, the board needs to more fully adopt proven practices that will bolster decision consistency and improve outcomes. The board also needs to implement an electronic file management system to reduce errors, improve data tracking abilities, and enhance operational efficiencies. Lastly, we identified several process inefficiencies and recommend options for reducing these inefficiencies. The board agrees with the audit findings and is working towards fully implementing all recommendations.
2. Summary of Report 2016-02: A Review of the Administration of 911 Surcharges
We were asked to review the distribution, use, and underlying statutory intent of three distinct streams of 911 surcharge revenue. We found that the Legislature should consider some statutory changes to improve the 911 system as well as provide criteria for creating and maintaining a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). Because Administrative Rule R174 is outdated and a statewide 911 strategic plan and standards are lacking, the Utah Communications Authority has been inconsistently approving 911 grants. We make a number of recommendations in the report to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the 911 system as well as the grant approval process that is used by the UCA Board to issue restricted 911 funds to the PSAPs.
Full Report -A Review of the Administration of 911 Surcharges
3. Summary of Report 2016-03: A Performance Audit of USOR’s Case Management Controls
This report found that the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation has weak case control and poor adherence to their own policy. Weak case controls have been the result of management neglect allowing for weak internal controls, a weak case review system, and policies that are insufficient to provide control and consistency. In addition, poor documentation in case of Pell Grants allows for the potential waste of funds. We believe USOR should improve their search for comparable benefits and financial needs assessments.
4. Summary of Report 2016-04: A Performance Audit of the Department of Financial Institution’s Regulation of the Payday Loan Industry
The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) oversees the payday lending industry. This report found that state limits may not effectively prevent overuse of payday loans and that DFI can take a stronger approach to regulating the payday loan industry. Furthermore, better data can help DFI strengthen its oversight of the payday loan industry. To enhance understanding of the payday loan industry and to improve compliance with state regulations, the Legislature should consider implementing a loan tracking system for payday loans. The Legislature may also consider placing additional limits on payday lending, and authorizing DFI to gather more industry data.
5. Summary of Report 2016-05: An In-depth Budget Review of the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT)
We were asked to review the budget of the Utah Department of Transportation. We found that a number of longstanding UDOT budgetary and accounting practices do not fully comply with statute and/or create transparency and oversight issues. We also found that UDOT has not adequately evaluated the cost and benefits of outsourcing formerly in-house positions and maintenance work. In addition, contract oversight needs to be strengthened to better ensure contract compliance with quality and safety. Finally, our review of corridor preservation shows UDOT needs to be more proactive in working with municipalities to ensure the efficient use of corridor preservation funds.
6. Summary of Report 2016-06: A Performance Audit of the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT)
Based on our review, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) can improve project quality incentives in their bidding practices. We found that UDOT and the Utah Transportation Commission have not hired two performance auditors as required by statute. Existing UDOT audit functions could be improved through better audit planning and greater resources. We also found that UDOT performance reports can be improved to increase accountability to the public. UDOT’s Motor Carrier Division followed statute in assessing and hearing appeals for civil penalties; however, their practices lack transparency and administrative rule. In addition, the Division of Aeronautics subsidizes travel on state planes that primarily benefit out-of-state entities. State planes and their pilots also appear to be underutilized.
7. Summary of Report 2016-07: A Performance Audit of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah
Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCU) is a contractor for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) that provides business recruitment services. EDCU receives the majority of its funding from state and local sources. This audit identifies improper personal purchases, missing computer hardware, and questionable purchases that lacked receipts and documentation of legitimate business purposes. In addition, we question the appropriateness of provdiding meals and gifts to GOED staff. Poor financial management and inadequate financial policies and procedures allowed these problems to persist. EDCU also failed to file its 2010 through 2013 tax returns, thus losing its tax-exempt status. EDCU is addressing the poor financial management that allowed these problems to occur by making organizational changes.
8. Summary of Report 2016-08: A Review of the Distribution and Use of the Local 911 Surcharge
We were asked to review the collection, distribution and use of the local 911 tax. We found the local 911 taxes only receive attention from the Utah State Tax Commission (Tax Commission) intermittently. We specifically reviewed the Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) involvement with five consolidated PSASPs and looked at the state’s portion of the expenses at these consolidated PSAPs. We make a number of recommendations to ensure there is equitable cost sharing at the consolidated PSAPs. We also reviewed DPS’s dispatching rate that it uses to pay for dispatching services to local PSAPs and we make a number of recommendations including the need for DPS to create and have contracts with the local PSAPs.
9. Summary of Report 2016-09: A Performance Audit of the Department of Human Resource Management’s Field Service Operations
This report found that the Department of Human Resource Management needs improved workload measures to ensure fair and adequate support to state agencies. In addition, we found that DHRM is consistent with discipline but should improve its discipline process. Finally, we reviewed DRHM’s service fees and found that they are in the process of addressing concerns regarding their legal services fee.
10. Summary of Report 2016-10: A Performance Audit of the University of Utah Athletics Department
The University of Utah Athletics Department (Athletics) needs to fully report the total costs of its operations to policy makers and stakeholders. In addition to making operational costs more transparent, athletics needs to implement a strategic plan to strengthen financial management and control. It is also essential that athletics improve the measuring the performance of sports teams and the financial rewarding of coaches. We also found that Athletics has not sufficiently accounted for costly assets, as well as, not properly accounting for many missing keys that have access to restricted areas throughout various athletic facilities. Finally, athletics needs to actively adhere to University Human Resource policy, as well as, correctly compensate nonexempt hourly employees for working overtime.