To detect and deter carriers from operating illegally at airports, the branch should use as intended the five positions added for passenger carrier enforcement at airports. If the branch chooses not to designate five positions solely for this purpose, then it must be prepared to demonstrate regularly that an equivalent number of full-time positions are working on this activity.
In August 2016, TEB completed the process to return all five of the identified airport enforcement positions to their appropriate enforcement sections. One of these positions is currently filled. TEB posted the remaining four for interested applicants, and expects to conclude the review and selection process in November 2016. To ensure availability of airport enforcement work, TEB is drafting airport partnership plans, which it expects to circulate to the airports in late 2016.
On March 23, 2016, the CPUC Executive Director communicated to State Auditor Elaine Howle that the CPUC intends to comply fully with Recommendation 12. The CPUC identified the specific positions intended to conduct airport enforcement. Of the five, three positions were located in the transportation enforcement section, one in the transportation license section, and one outside of TEB. The CPUC returned all positions to airport enforcement, posted the vacancies and expects to fill the vacancies by November 15, 2016. As stated in TEB's 2016 Annual Plan, TEB is drafting a formal airport partnership plan to locate the equivalent of those five positions among California's major airports. Right now, only LAX authorizes the CPUC to locate enforcement staff onsite; TEB consistently maintains one full-time inspector at LAX. While TEB maintains a close relationship with all airports and coordinates joint inspections, there is not enough airport work to occupy five inspectors unless the CPUC obtains agreements with the major airports.
See one-year response.
CPUC began the transition of five positions to new passenger carrier enforcement activity at California airports beginning August 2014. CPUC also refined its Work Tracking System (WTS) to better define and track work associated with airport enforcement. TEB Management reviews WTS monthly, and adjusts workload as appropriate. Historically, TEB's annual investigatory workload is approximately 60% passenger carriers and 40% household goods carriers. Investigators are cross-trained to work on both types of cases. Five investigators dedicated to airports results in a loss equivalent to two full time investigators to the household goods program. The CPUC must retain the flexibility to investigate the highest priority cases, regardless of carrier classification.
It is troubling that the California Public Utilities Commission (commission) does not plan to implement our recommendation. As we describe in pages 34 through 37 of our report, because the transportation enforcement branch (branch) does not use the five positions the Legislature authorized to conduct passenger carrier enforcement at major airports, it may not be catching and deterring unlicensed passenger carriers operating at major California airports as the Legislature intended. We found that the commission transferred one of these five staff to work in a completely different branch unrelated to transportation enforcement, and the remaining four staff spent more time working on household good carrier investigations and licensing activities than passenger carrier enforcement. Consequently, the branch inappropriately uses funds from the transportation account, which benefited from a fee increase tied to what was supposed to be five new positions working on passenger carrier enforcement at major airports, to compensate for work associated with other activities. Therefore, we concluded that the commission should either reduce revenues by lowering fees on passenger carriers or it should increase its enforcement activities by using the positions as authorized by the Legislature. However, the commission is doing neither.
TEB dedicated the equivalent of five positions to passenger carrier enforcement at California airports. TEB also refined its Work Tracking System to better define and track work associated with airport enforcement, which enables management to rebalance workload as necessary to maintain the five-person allocation. Currently, such reviews take place quarterly.
Status: Ongoing. The first two reviews indicate the need for continued monitoring and supervision over staff entries into the work tracking system.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.