Report 2016-104 All Recommendation Responses

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)

Recommendation for Legislative Action

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.

Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: No Action Taken


Recommendation #2 To: Public Utilities Commission

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.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

The General Counsel and Chief Administrative Law Judge hope to prepare the issue for referral by the end of the year.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/2107

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending


1-Year Agency Response

The General Counsel and Chief Administrative Law Judge hope to prepare the issue for referral by the end of the year

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/30/17
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending


6-Month Agency Response

The General Counsel and the Chief Administrative Law Judge will be referring this to the Policy and Governance Committee to adopt a formal policy.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 4/30/2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

The General Counsel and the Chief Administrative Law Judge will be referring this to the Policy and Governance Committee to adopt a formal policy.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation for Legislative Action

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.

Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: No Action Taken


Recommendation #4 To: Public Utilities Commission

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.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

The Commission approved this change to the Commissioner Code on Conduct on August 10, 2017.

  • Completion Date: August 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending

As we explained in our comments on the CPUC's one-year response to this recommendation, the CPUC adopted a change to its commissioner code of conduct that encourages commissioners to consider whether the acceptance of a gift of travel, lodging, or meals would give an appearance of an inappropriate relationship with a regulated utility, organizations with significant ties to a regulated utility, and other interested persons with financial interest in commission proceedings. However, the encouragement to consider appearances is not fully aligned with our recommendation. Specifically, our recommendation directed the CPUC to prohibit gifts of any kind from regulated utilities and energy companies and free travel from organizations with significant ties to regulated utilities or other interested parties. The CPUC's new code of conduct falls short of this standard.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

1-Year Agency Response

The Commission approved this change to the Commissioner Code on Conduct on August 10, 2017.

  • Completion Date: August 2017
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending

The CPUC adopted a change to its commissioner code of conduct that encourages commissioners to consider whether the acceptance of a gift of travel, lodging, or meals would give an appearance of an inappropriate relationship with a regulated utility, organizations with significant ties to a regulated utility, and other interested persons with financial interest in commission proceedings. However, the encouragement to consider appearances is not fully aligned with our recommendation. Specifically, our recommendation directed the CPUC to prohibit gifts of any kind from regulated utilities and energy companies and free travel from organizations with significant ties to regulated utilities or other interested parties. The CPUC's new code of conduct falls short of this standard.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

6-Month Agency Response

This recommendation was referred to the Policy and Governance Committee on October 7th by the Executive Director, Tim Sullivan. The referral was for the Commission to adopt a policy concerning out-of-state travel for Commissioners that is paid for by non-profits or other entities with ties to regulated entities.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: April 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

This recommendation was referred to the Policy and Governance Committee on October 7th by the Executive Director, Tim Sullivan. The referral was for the Commission to adopt a policy concerning out-of-state travel for Commissioners that is paid for by non-profits or other entities with ties to regulated entities.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation for Legislative Action

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.

Description of Legislative Action

Senate Bill 19 (Hill, Chapter 421, Statutes of 2017) adds Section 633 to the Public Contract Code to provide that the provisions requiring CPUC to comply with specified requirements regarding contracts for consultant or advisory services do not apply to contracts for legal services and requires the CPUC to notify the Attorney General when contracting for legal services by attorneys who are not employees of the CPUC.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: No Action Taken


Recommendation #6 To: Public Utilities Commission

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.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

CPUC has hired a Contractor. Tasks include development of contracting manual. Contracts are initiated by Program by submitting Contract Request Form (CRF) with detailed description of contract and signed by BCO, Supervisor, and Project Manager. Additional justification memo- explaining compliance/exception to 19130b and draft scope of work are required "starter documents" for project to be assigned to a Contracts Analyst to work with Project Manager. Amendments (for funds and/or time) are initiated by Program submitting (CRF) with detailed description of request and signed by BCO, Supervisor, and Project Manager. Additional amendment justification answering 5 questions related to why amendment is requested, what work has already been done, and whether project will be completed upon end of amendment. documents are required prior to assignment to Contracts Analyst to work with Project Manager.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending

As we explained in our comment on the CPUC's one-year response to this recommendation, our recommendation directed the CPUC to update its contracting manual to address several deficiencies we found in its contracting practices. The CPUC's response indicates that it has not yet developed such a manual. Most of the additional activities it describes, such as the use of a contract request form, are practices we observed that the CPUC engaged in during the time period we audited. Despite these practices, we still found deficiencies in the way the CPUC contracted for services. We did note that the CPUC contracts office is requesting answers to five questions related to contract amendments that pertain to concerns we expressed about how the CPUC added funds to contracts through amendments and made changes to the original contract scope of work through an amendment.


1-Year Agency Response

CPUC has hired a Contractor. Tasks include development of contracting manual. Contracts are initiated by Program by submitting Contract Request Form (CRF) with detailed description of contract and signed by BCO, Supervisor, and Project Manager. Additional justification memo- explaining compliance/exception to 19130b and draft scope of work are required "starter documents" for project to be assigned to a Contracts Analyst to work with Project Manager. Amendments (for funds and/or time) are initiated by Program submitting (CRF) with detailed description of request and signed by BCO, Supervisor, and Project Manager. Additional amendment justification answering 5 questions related to why amendment is requested, what work has already been done, and whether project will be completed upon end of amendment. documents are required prior to assignment to Contracts Analyst to work with Project Manager.

  • Completion Date: August 2017
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending

Our recommendation directed the CPUC to update its contracting manual to address several deficiencies we found in its contracting practices. The CPUC's response indicates that it has not yet developed such a manual. Most of the additional activities it describes, such as the use of a contract request form, are practices we observed that the CPUC engaged in during the time period we audited. Despite these practices, we still found deficiencies in the way the CPUC contracted for services. We did note that the CPUC contracts office is requesting answers to five questions related to contract amendments that pertain to concerns we expressed about how the CPUC added funds to contracts through amendments and made changes to the original contract scope of work through an amendment.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation
  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

6-Month Agency Response

The contract office has just recently filled three positions with contract staff, but they still need training. CPUC will be hiring a vendor to assist with the contract manual, improvement of processes, and recommendations for improvements.

CPUC has made strides in multiple areas such as; 1) Justifications of civil service exemptions by emailing requirements to project managers to justify and describe efforts made to out state or governmental agencies,2) Market Research for exempt contracts requiring justification requests, market research and fair and reasonable evaluations, 3) Fully support need for additional funding by replying to list of questions,4) Review of SOW by Contract analyst with each amendment, 5) Avoid sole -source contracts by using NCB Justification if/when sole source is considered and ensuring project managers do market research.

Training of contract managers will begin in April and continue until all project trainers have been trained and they understand the responsibility of contract monitoring while being a project manager.

  • Estimated Completion Date: July 31, 2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The CPUC indicates that it has not yet developed a contracting manual and plans to hire a vendor to assist it with the preparation of that manual. In the interim, the CPUC asserts that it has made progress in several of the problem areas that we identified in our report. Although it demonstrated that its contract analysts have communication with project managers about some of these areas, the CPUC has not yet demonstrated that it has an effective control environment that ensures overall contract compliance.


60-Day Agency Response

CPUC is preparing to provide all project managers training and instructions on how to prepare contracts according to the State Contracting Manual. This will include further instructions on the civil service exemptions, market research for exempt contracts, requirements for amendments, sole source contracts and monitoring of contracts. In addition, the contracts and procurement office initiated checklists in June of 2016 to ensure compliance with the State Contracting Manual and continue to use these for review of completed contract and procurement work. The CPUC contract staff will continue its work on a contract manual and has set a completion date for April, 2017.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 4/30/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #7 To: Public Utilities Commission

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.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

Contract training was provided to over 60 contract managers in October.

  • Completion Date: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

The CPUC states that it has provided training to its contract managers, not the individuals to whom our recommendation pertains: its contract analysts and contracts office manager. As we explained in our comment on the CPUC's most recent response to this recommendation (the one-year response), the CPUC provided evidence that its contracts office staff have attended some relevant training and professional development events. However, the CPUC has still not provided any evidence that it has established a regular schedule of training for its contracts office staff or contracts office manager.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation
  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

1-Year Agency Response

The contractor and the contract office will be providing training on both October 9th and October 11th for all contract managers.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/11/17
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented

The CPUC provided evidence that its contracts office staff have attended some relevant training and professional development events. However, the CPUC has still not provided any evidence that it has established a regular schedule of training for its contracts office staff or contracts office manager.


6-Month Agency Response

The contract staff has been attending training both by webinar and by attending training in Sacramento. All contract analysts are registered with CalPCA training system which offers more than 12 classes including a 5 Day Basic Certification Class. The Contract Manager maintains copies of training history and encourages all staff to periodically attend classes and webinars.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented

As indicated in its 60-day response, CPUC recently hired new contract analysts. As of this six-month response, CPUC demonstrated that its staff were receiving some training related to state contracting requirements. However, it has not developed a formal training plan for these staff or its contracts office manager that goes beyond May 2017. Further, records it provided indicate that it has not provided refresher training to one of its contract analysts. Although CPUC asserted that it plans to have staff attend webinars and trainings on an ongoing basis, it should develop a formal plan to do so and indicate the specific training sessions that staff will attend.


60-Day Agency Response

CPUC is hiring for three positions in the contract office, two vacancies and one approaching retirement. Once all staff has been hired, the Contract and Procurement Supervisor will develop a training plan for all staff. The goal is to ensure all staff will attend the required training needed for certification by DGS.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #8 To: Public Utilities Commission

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.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

The majority of contract managers are in the Energy Division. The Executive Director and the Energy Director are spinning off an Administrative Unit within Energy to handle the contracting needs of the Division. This had not begun as of yet but is set to begin within the next couple of months.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2018

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending


1-Year Agency Response

The Executive Director and the Division Directors will be working on a plan to eliminate the need for too many contract managers.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/30/17
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending


6-Month Agency Response

Training for all project managers will be done covering the next two months and on an on-going basis. CPUC is continuing to try and develop a strategy with the Division Directors for limiting the number of project managers and better coordination with the contracts office.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

The Commission continues to develop its model for limiting the number of project managers within the divisions.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #9 To: Public Utilities Commission

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.

1-Year Agency Response

The contracts office has implemented the contract request form for completeness upon receipt. This covers the following: dates, term, description of work, justification, proposed method of acquisition and works with the Project Manager to complete packaged before contract is assigned. Contract Manager reviews the package prior to contractor signature, submittal to Executive Directors and Deputy Executive Director as outlined on the compliance form.

  • Completion Date: July 2017
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

The contracts office has implemented the contract request form for completeness upon receipt. This covers the following: dates, term, description of work, justification, proposed method of acquisition and works with the Project Manager to complete packaged before contract is assigned.

Contract Manager reviews the package prior to contractor signature

Contract Manager review the package prior to submittal to Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director.

These steps are outlined on the Non-IT Personal and Consultant Service Contract Review and Compliance Form.

  • Completion Date: February 2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The CPUC has not demonstrated that it is completing supervisory review of contracts before sending them to vendors for signatures. It did not provide sufficient documentation to support its claims that the contracts office manager is performing these reviews.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

60-Day Agency Response

The contracts manager and prior branch supervisors have been reviewing contracts prior to submission for approval by Deputy Executive Director review.

  • Completion Date: May 2016
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

The CPUC states that its contracts manager is reviewing contracts prior to executive approval. However, this process is not the same as our recommendation, which states that the CPUC should implement a supervisory review of contracts and contract amendments before they go to a vendor for signature. We reviewed examples of recent CPUC contracts and contract amendments and found that the supervisory review the CPUC conducts is not occurring before the vendor signs the contract or contract amendment agreement. Therefore, this recommendation is still pending implementation.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation
  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Recommendation #10 To: Public Utilities Commission

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

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

In rulemaking(R)14-11-001 the Commission continues to examine its procedures for responding to requests pursuant to CA Public Records Acts and will adopt policies that align with state laws.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending


1-Year Agency Response

In rulemaking(R)14-11-001 the Commission continues to examine its procedures for responding to requests pursuant to CA Public Records Acts and will adopt policies that align with state laws.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/30/17
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending


6-Month Agency Response

In rulemaking(R)14-11-001 the Commission continues to examine its procedures for responding to requests pursuant to CA Public Records Acts and will adopt policies that align with state laws.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

In rulemaking (R.) 14-11-001 the Commission is currently examining its procedures for responding to request pursuant to CA Public Records Acts and will adopt policies that align with state laws.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #11 To: Public Utilities Commission

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.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

As we explained in the May 2017 phone call with the State Auditor, we have a skeleton administrative staff available to monitor attorneys' work on assigned records requests. Legal Division's PRA team has been without administrative assistance since December 2016. Prior to December, two legal analysts (i.e. paralegals) were assigned to the PRA team. Both of those positions have been vacant since December 2016, despite efforts to fill them. One of the individuals became an attorney, but has only able to work on PRA requests on a part-time basis, devoting most of that time to the substantive work of responding to PRA requests. Because of the large PRA workload, she has limited time to remind other attorneys to complete their legacy requests.

Despite these staffing limitations, we established a procedures document regarding legacy requests. Pursuant to that procedure, the above-mentioned attorney (because we have no legal analysts) requests a status report from assigned in-house attorneys every two weeks. If assigned attorneys fail to provide an update, she informs the supervising AGC (which has not occurred since development of the protocol). See procedures document and examples of records showing attorneys contacted, attachments 11-A and 11-B. We have also requested our outside counsel to provide a status report of open legacy requests every two weeks. See, e.g., 9/1/17 status report and 9/15/17 status report, attachments 11-C and 11-D.

In addition, per the State Auditor's specific request in the May 2017 phone call, we tracked the monthly closures of legacy requests so that the State Auditor can see what has been closed over time and what remains open. See list of open/closed legacy PRA requests, attachment 11-E. Monitoring of PRA requests submitted after May 2016 occurs through NextRequest, as described in an earlier response above.

  • Completion Date: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

The CPUC repeats the response to this recommendation that it submitted as part of its one-year response. Accordingly, our assessment remains unchanged. Specifically, the procedures document that the CPUC refers to appears to have been created recently. It suggests that the procedures have only been followed twice so far. However, the procedures do not address elements we believe are important, such as when and how to make the determination that a partial or complete response to a request is ready.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

1-Year Agency Response

"As we explained in the May 2017 phone call with the State Auditor, we have a skeleton administrative staff available to monitor attorneys' work on assigned records requests. Legal Division's PRA team has been without administrative assistance since December 2016. Prior to December, two legal analysts (i.e. paralegals) were assigned to the PRA team. Both of those positions have been vacant since December 2016, despite efforts to fill them. One of the individuals became an attorney, but has only able to work on PRA requests on a part-time basis, devoting most of that time to the substantive work of responding to PRA requests. Because of the large PRA workload, she has limited time to remind other attorneys to complete their legacy requests.

Despite these staffing limitations, we established a procedures document regarding legacy requests. Pursuant to that procedure, the above-mentioned attorney (because we have no legal analysts) requests a status report from assigned in-house attorneys every two weeks. If assigned attorneys fail to provide an update, she informs the supervising AGC (which has not occurred since development of the protocol). See procedures document and examples of records showing attorneys contacted, attachments 11-A and 11-B. We have also requested our outside counsel to provide a status report of open legacy requests every two weeks. See, e.g., 9/1/17 status report and 9/15/17 status report, attachments 11-C and 11-D.

In addition, per the State Auditor's specific request in the May 2017 phone call, we tracked the monthly closures of legacy requests so that the State Auditor can see what has been closed over time and what remains open. See list of open/closed legacy PRA requests, attachment 11-E. Monitoring of PRA requests submitted after May 2016 occurs through NextRequest, as described in an earlier response above.

"

  • Completion Date: October 2017
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented

The procedures document that the CPUC refers to appears to have been created recently. It suggests that the procedures have only been followed twice so far. However, the procedures do not address elements we believe are important, such as when and how to make the determination that a partial or complete response to a request is ready.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

6-Month Agency Response

Legal Division's Public Records Office opened a new online portal called "NextRequest" (https://cpuc.nextrequest.com/) to receive and track all incoming records request.Requesters submit online requests and receive a private and secure portal to track their requests (see page 1 of attached Appendix for screenshots of the live portal);An immediate e-mail is issued to the Public Records Office containing a tracking number and indicating the 10-day, statutorily-based due date ;Automated daily reminders of "Overdue and Due Soon" requests are e-mailed to assigned staff with tracking numbers, past-due production dates, and future due dates Automated daily "Notification Digests" are e-mailed to the Public Records Office, and Internally available color-coded tracking flags indicate to staff whether a records request is closed (black), open (blue), due soon (yellow), or overdue (red) The Public Records Office team also utilizes NextRequest to generate real-time status reports containing critical oversight data. NextRequest's reporting system provides the team with a running tally of current open, due soon, and overdue records requests in a straightforward, color-blocked format. To address partially resolved PRA requests, the Public Records Office team adjusts a request's due date in NextRequest to match the anticipated production date communicated to the requester in a previous determination letter. Adjusting the due date allows for effective tracking of open, due soon, and overdue requests using the NextRequest reporting system, and, when combined with daily automated alerts, reminds staff to forward records to requesters in a timely manner, maintaining consistent rolling productions as necessary. Additional efficiency metrics available in NextRequest include a snapshot of cases opened and closed during a customizable timeframe, and the average number of days that it took assigned staff to complete the cases closed within that window.

  • Completion Date: January 2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented

The CPUC provided evidence that it is is regularly following up on California Public Records Act requests to which it has not yet fully responded. However, it has not memorialized these steps in a procedure document that describes, for example, when a request merits follow up to determine if responsive records can be provided to the requester. Additionally, the CPUC has not demonstrated that it is sufficiently addressing legacy requests that are not included in its new NextRequest system but to which it may be able to provide partial or full responses.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

60-Day Agency Response

The CPUC agrees with this recommendation, and has established the following procedures to regularly track records requests. In May 2016, the Legal Division's Public Records Office opened a new online portal called "NextRequest" to receive and track all incoming records requests which includes these features; Requesters submit online requests and receive a private and secure portal to track their requests; An immediate e-mail is issued to the Public Records Office containing a tracking number and indicating the 10-day, statutorily-based due date; Automated daily reminders of "Overdue and Due Soon" requests are e-mailed to assigned staff with tracking numbers, past-due production dates, and future due dates; Automated daily "Notification Digests" are e-mailed to the Public Records Office, providing a snapshot of all case activity within the past 24 hours; and Publicly available color-coded tracking flags indicate to staff and the public whether a records request is closed (black), open (blue), due soon (yellow), or overdue (red).These processes have streamlined the Public Records Office's response management and tracking methods in a manner consistent with the State Auditor's recommendations. Finally, the Commission has a 2017-18 Budget Change Proposal (BCP) currently pending before the Department of Finance, in which Legal Division requested additional attorney and legal analyst staff for the Public Records Office team. Legal Division will assign one of the attorney positions to oversee the tracking and management of incoming and outstanding records requests and follow up with assigned Legal Division staff to ensure compliance with statutory deadlines. The attorney will provide bi-monthly status reports to the supervising Assistant General Counsel.

  • Completion Date: May 2016
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

Although the CPUC provided a detailed explanation of its new processes related to California Public Records Act requests, it did not submit any supporting evidence to demonstrate that it has taken any of the steps it described or that it has developed related procedures as the recommendation directs. Further, the CPUC's response does not clearly indicate how the CPUC tracks the status of records requests that it received before implementing its new tracking system but has not yet fully resolved. Finally, during our audit we identified an instance in which the CPUC delayed sending responsive records to a requester. At the time of our audit, the head of the CPUC's legal division's public records office stated that the CPUC did not closely oversee the staff member assigned to respond to that request. It is not clear from the CPUC's response how the CPUC is ensuring that a similar lapse in response time does not occur again.

We look forward to CPUC addressing these areas and providing supporting documentation in its next response.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation
  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Recommendation #12 To: Public Utilities Commission

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

1-Year Agency Response

CPUC is scheduled to be a part of the last wave of Fi$Cal implementation, July 2018. The contract office currently uses the FI$CAL System to track procurement methods as well as the current contract management system. The SCPRS FI$CAL system does track procurement by type. Initial steps for evaluating expaneded database tracking are nder way.

  • Completion Date: August 2017
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

CPUC is working with their IT team to ensure the contract database system can track the procurement method adequately.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

The CPUC Information Technology Branch are currently working to incorporate the procurement method into the contract record management system which records all of the contract information.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #13 To: Public Utilities Commission

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.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

The P&G committee has been engaged in reforming the Rules of Practice & Procedure to conform them to statutory changes brought about by SB 215 (Hill 2016). That effort has lasted from January to the present, and we have not yet completed the CPUC and OAL rulemaking processes. P&G may be able to take this issue up in a next phase of rules reform beginning in 2018. As noted in the original response, it represents a significant policy change.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2018

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending


1-Year Agency Response

The P&G committee has been engaged in reforming the Rules of Practice & Procedure to conform them to statutory changes brought about by SB 215 (Hill 2016). That effort has lasted from January to the present, and we have not yet completed the CPUC and OAL rulemaking processes. P&G may be able to take this issue up in a next phase of rules reform beginning in 2018. As noted in the original response, it represents a significant policy change.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 3/30/18
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending


6-Month Agency Response

The recommendation has been referred to the Policy and Governance Committee for April. This change constitutes a large change in Commission policy and could potentially require a change in the rules of practice and procedure.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

This recommendation was referred to the Policy and Governance Committee on October 11th by the Executive Director, Tim Sullivan. Compliance with this recommendation requires rules affecting what parties participating in our proceedings must file. This would constitute a major change in Commission policy and could potentially requires a change in the rules of practice and procedure.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #14 To: Public Utilities Commission

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.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

The CPUC is reviewing all classifications which are required to file Form 700s forms and working with the FPPC to establish limitations in the existing classifications.

CPUC does have a current list of classifications and tracks all filings by names and classifications to ensure all people required to file prepare and turn in to the filing officer a form 700 annually, upon hire and departure.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

The CPUC repeats the response it provided to this recommendation in its one-year response. Accordingly, our assessment remains the same. The CPUC provided evidence that it has identified all persons who are required to file statements of economic interest. However, it did not provide us evidence that it has been tracking the submission of those statements to ensure that all relevant staff file them.


1-Year Agency Response

The CPUC is reviewing all classifications which are required to file Form 700s forms and working with the FPPC to establish limitations in the existing classifications.

CPUC does have a current list of classifications and tracks all filings by names and classifications to ensure all people required to file prepare and turn in to the filing officer a form 700 annually, upon hire and departure.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/17
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented

The CPUC provided evidence that it has identified all persons that are required to file statements of economic interest. However, it did not provide us evidence that it has been tracking the submission of those statements to ensure that all relevant staff file them.


6-Month Agency Response

CPUC has built a database that tracks who is required to fill out a Form 700 and track the compliance of this requirement.

  • Completion Date: January 2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The CPUC established a new policy that its filing officer should compile a list of all employees who are required to submit a statement of economic interest. However, that policy does not address how the CPUC will address the concerns we discussed in our report, namely that the filing officer relied on information to identify required filers that was sometimes inaccurate. Further, the CPUC did not submit evidence that it created a database to track the individuals required to complete statements of economic interest.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation
  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

60-Day Agency Response

The Filing Officer will be communicating with legal staff to ensure all staff required to fill out the Form 700's are listed in a database for tracking purposes. In addition, the Filing Officer will use this database to ensure all required filers turn their forms in timely. This includes sending updates to Directors and the Executive Director regarding those that are non-compliant.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 1/01/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #15 To: Public Utilities Commission

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

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

The CPUC has a document retention policy in draft format and is now working with the Divisions to establish compliance with the the requirements for form 700s so our policy aligns with best practices.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2018

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending


1-Year Agency Response

The CPUC is currently adopting an agency wide document retention policy which will include the requirements for form 700s so our policy aligns with best practices.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/30/17
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending


6-Month Agency Response

CPUC is retaining all documents completed regarding statements of economic interest.

  • Completion Date: January 2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

As stated in our report, the required retention period for statements of economic interests is seven years.The CPUC did not submit evidence to support its statement that it is now retaining all documents related to completed statements of economic interest. Further, it did not provide evidence that it updated its retention policy.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

60-Day Agency Response

The Legal Office is currently reviewing the requirement for filing statements of economic interests and verifying what the requirement is for the CPUC employees. This will include updating the retention policy for economic interest disclosures so it aligns to state law.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


All Recommendations in 2016-104

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.