Report 2016-104 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2016-104: California Public Utilities Commission: It Should Reform Its Rules to Increase Transparency and Accountability, and Its Contracting Practices Do Not Align With Requirements or Best Practices (Release Date: September 2016)

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Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status
1

The Legislature should amend state law to direct the CPUC to adopt a standard that requires commissioners to recuse themselves from proceedings if a person who is aware of the facts may reasonably question whether a commissioner is able to act impartially.

3

The Legislature should amend state law to direct the CPUC to adopt rules for ex parte communications between CPUC commissioners and interested parties that include the following:

-A requirement for CPUC commissioners to disclose any ex parte communications in which they participate, in addition to the existing requirement for interested party disclosure. This disclosure should occur within the same time frame as the interested party disclosure.

-A requirement that commissioners' disclosures include a description of the commissioners' communications and their contents.

5

The Legislature should amend Public Utilities Code section 632 to clarify that its provisions related to the Attorney General apply to the CPUC regardless of Government Code section 11041 and Public Utilities Code section 307.

Recommendations to Public Utilities Commission
Number Recommendation Status
2

To ensure that the choice of a vendor is sufficiently justified and that the vendor represents the best value, the CPUC should explain in its final decision how the vendor was the most qualified in all cases when the CPUC does not competitively select the vendor it directs utilities to contract with.

Pending
4

To avoid the appearance of inappropriate relationships, the CPUC should adopt a policy to prohibit commissioners from accepting gifts from regulated utilities and energy companies and free travel from organizations with significant ties to regulated utilities and other parties with financial interests in CPUC proceedings.

Pending
6

To ensure that its contracting practices align with state requirements and best practices, the CPUC should update, distribute, and follow its contracting procedures manual. The manual should identify specific responsibilities for both contracts office staff and project managers, and it should provide specific guidance about the processes the CPUC will employ to do the following:

-Fully justify civil service exemptions.

-Conduct market research for exempt contracts.

-Fully support the need for additional funding.

-Ensure that it does not change the scope of work too significantly from the original.

-Monitor contractor performance against criteria included in its contracts.

-Avoid sole-source contracts when it is able to solicit competitive bids for services.

Pending
7

To ensure that its contracting practices align with state requirements and best practices, the CPUC should provide immediate refresher training to its contract analysts and contracts office manager, and establish a regular schedule of annual training for them to attend.

Partially Implemented
8

To ensure that its contracting practices align with state requirements and best practices, the CPUC should designate a limited number of project managers for each division at the CPUC, and provide those individuals with training on the CPUC's processes related to contracting, including how to monitor progress of a contractor's work.

Pending
9

To ensure that its contracting practices align with state requirements and best practices, the CPUC should implement a supervisory review by the contracts office manager of proposed contracts and contract amendments to occur before contracts and amendments go to vendors for signature.

Fully Implemented
10

The CPUC should update its general policy on responding to California Public Records Act requests so that the policy aligns with state law.

Pending
11

The CPUC should develop and follow procedures to regularly track and review California Public Records Act requests it has not fully responded to and determine whether it can provide information.

Partially Implemented
12

The CPUC should use its contract database to track the procurement method for each contract.

Fully Implemented
13

The CPUC should update its regulations to require parties joining a proceeding by filing a protest or response to an application or petition, or by filing comments in response to a rulemaking proceeding to fully disclose their interests in the proceeding.

Pending
14

The CPUC should ensure that it has accurate information about who is required to file statements of economic interests and then verify that all such persons file those statements when required.

Partially Implemented
15

The CPUC should update and follow its retention policy for economic interest disclosures so that it is aligned with state law.

Pending


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