Most Recent Reports Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT List of the most recent reports published by the California State Auditor Report 2014-109: Sexual Assault Evidence Kits: Although Testing All Kits Could Benefit Sexual Assault Investigations, the Extent of the Benefits Is Unknown <p>Our review of the processing and analysis of sexual assault evidence kits highlighted the following:</p> <ul> <li>We did not identify any state or federal law that requires agencies to request analysis of every sexual assault evidence kit.</li> <li>The three law enforcement agencies we reviewed and their associated crime labs analyzed varied proportions of the sexual assault evidence kits they collected from 2011 through 2013.<ul> <li>Of about 1,900 kits that the three agencies received during this period, nearly 850 were analyzed, almost 140 were still in progress at the labs, and about 910 kits remained unanalyzed. </li> </ul></li> <li>The agencies allow their investigators to use their discretion in making decisions about whether to request a kit analysis based on the specific circumstances of the individual case in place of formal policies.</li> <li>While we concluded for the cases we reviewed that the reasons an investigator did not request a kit analysis appeared reasonable, there may be potential benefits that analyzing a kit could provide to apparently unrelated sexual assault investigations through the use of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).</li> <li>Although we did not identify any negative effects on the investigations of the 45 cases we reviewed in which the investigators did not request a kit analysis, investigators rarely documented the reasons they decided not to request an analysis.</li> <li>The California Department of Justice's Rapid DNA Service program could provide more information about the benefits of analyzing all sexual assault evidence kits.</li> <li>While it is not known how often kit analysis in cases with unknown assailants would aid the investigations of these or other cases, we believe analyzing these kits is a prudent step regardless of most case circumstances because these cases involve unknown assailants and a kit analysis could result in a match in CODIS.</li> </ul> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT (California State Auditor Webmaster) Report 2014-108: State Board of Equalization Building: Despite Ongoing Health and Safety Concerns, the State Has Not Thoroughly Analyzed the Costs and Benefits of Relocating Employees <p>Our assessment of the State Board of Equalization's (BOE) and the California Department of General Services' (General Services) analysis of BOE's headquarters building highlighted the following:</p> <ul> <li>BOE has not yet prepared a cohesive, properly supported analysis demonstrating that the benefits to the State of moving BOE to a new facility outweigh the costs.</li> <li>BOE staff believe that by mirroring the Franchise Tax Board's (FTB) horizontal movement of tax documents, it will achieve gains similar to those it says FTB achieved, but does not have a strong rationale underlying its assumptions.</li> <li>BOE cannot support some of its estimates in its analysis of the costs and benefits of maintaining its current spatial configuration versus relocating and consolidating its headquarters.</li> <li>Although it developed a methodology to estimate the lost productivity from its employees moving to, working at, and moving back from a temporary work location, BOE could not provide a strong rationale to support its estimate. </li> <li>BOE's estimate of its future space needs relies on a projected annual growth rate which appears to be overstated.</li> <li>After we expanded on BOE's analysis using additional components and much more conservative assumptions, we believe there could be a net fiscal benefit for the State to move BOE staff to a new facility.</li> <li>Although General Services is responsible for overseeing the use of state facilities, it has not determined whether maintaining ownership and repairing the BOE building is in the best interest of the State and has no plans for using or selling the building if BOE moves.</li> </ul> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT (California State Auditor Webmaster) Report 2014-037: California Department of Housing and Community Development: Inconsistent Oversight Has Resulted in the Questionable Use of Some Housing Bond Funds <p>Our review of the activities related to the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Acts of 2002 and 2006, which provide housing bonds for use in financing affordable housing, highlighted the following:</p> <ul> <li>The California Department of Housing and Community Development's (HCD) weaknesses in awarding funds for some of the programs it administers have resulted in the questionable use of funds.<ul> <li>It awarded funds to projects with costs well above the averages for their geographical areas without determining whether these costs were reasonable.</li> <li>It awarded funds to a project that did not meet the purpose of the funding program--increasing affordable housing.</li> </ul></li> <li>HCD failed to adequately monitor four of the seven housing bond programs that we reviewed.<ul> <li>It failed to obtain many status reports from program recipients.</li> <li>For the CalHome Program, it has not developed an adequate, risk-based process for determining which recipients warrant on-site visits.</li> <li>For two of the programs, it advanced funds to several recipients that for years did not provide evidence of how funds were spent.</li> </ul></li> <li>Continued weaknesses in HCD's housing bond database negatively affects its monitoring efforts.</li> </ul> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT (California State Auditor Webmaster) Report 2014-101: Employment Development Department: It Should Improve Its Efforts to Minimize Avoidable Appeals of Its Eligibility Determinations for Unemployment Insurance Benefits <p>Our audit of appeals of the Employment Development Department's (EDD) unemployment insurance benefits eligibility determinations revealed the following:</p> <ul> <li>The California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (appeals board) frequently decides in favor of claimants who initiate first-level appeals of EDD's benefit determinations for the unemployment insurance program.</li> <li>The appeals board frequently overturns EDD determinations that claimants made false statements as EDD does not adequately establish that the statements were made willfully.</li> <li>EDD does not always successfully contact claimants and employers before making its benefits eligibility determinations.</li> <li>EDD and the appeals board do not systematically identify trends in the reasons that EDD's benefit determinations are overturned on appeal.</li> </ul> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT (California State Auditor Webmaster) Report 2012-603: High Risk Update: State Agencies Credited Their Employees With Millions of Dollars Worth of Unearned Leave <p>Our review of the California Leave Accounting System (leave accounting system) highlighted the following:</p> <ul> <li>State agencies credited employees with roughly 197,000 hours--valued at nearly $6.4 million as of December 2013--of unearned leave between January 2008 and December 2012.</li> <li>Because of the absence of clear statutory language, in the event of litigation the State is at risk of not recovering the funds that represent inappropriately credited leave hours.</li> <li>The leave accounting system lacks sufficient automated controls to prevent state agencies from processing erroneous transactions. <ul> <li>One state agency inappropriately credited an employee with eight hours of sick leave each month for 10 years in addition to her monthly accrual of annual leave.</li> <li>One state agency erroneously gave an employee 1,212 hours of holiday credit in December 2012, worth more than $33,000, instead of the eight hours to which she was entitled. </li> </ul></li> <li>Some state agencies misinterpreted collective bargaining agreements related to the number of leave hours their employees should earn. </li> <li>Of the 14 locations we visited, only two performed procedures to ensure that their staff properly entered information from time sheets into the leave accounting system.</li> </ul> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT (California State Auditor Webmaster) Report 2013-119: California Department of Health Care Services: Its Failure to Properly Administer the Drug Medi-Cal Treatment Program Created Opportunities for Fraud <p>Our audit of the California Department of Health Care Services' and the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs' administration of the Drug Medi-Cal Treatment Program (program) highlighted the following:</p> <ul> <li>Between July 1, 2008, and December 31, 2013, the State approved nearly $1 million to potentially ineligible substance abuse clinics (providers).</li> <li>We found 323 instances amounting to more than $10,000 in which the State reimbursed providers for services they purportedly rendered to deceased beneficiaries.</li> <li>Our analysis of four years of program claims billing data identified $93.7 million in authorized payments that were potentially indicative of fraudulent activity.</li> <li>Neither department implemented an effective provider certification process, nor did they enforce laws and regulations designed to prevent fraudulent provider applicants from obtaining certification.</li> <li>Neither department consistently followed its own certification processes--we found serious deficiencies in each of the files of 25 program provider applicants we reviewed. </li> <li>The departments only took steps to strengthen the program recertification process when mandated to do so by the federal government.</li> </ul> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT (California State Auditor Webmaster) Report 2013-122: California Department of Toxic Substances Control: Its Lack of Diligence in Cost Recovery Has Contributed to Millions in Unbilled and Uncollected Costs <p>Our audit of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (department) highlighted the following:</p> <ul> <li>Long-standing shortcomings with the department's recovery of costs have resulted in unbilled and billed but uncollected cleanup costs (outstanding costs)--as of March 2014 the department has 1,661 projects totaling almost $194 million in outstanding costs.<ul> <li>Nearly $142 million was unbilled and almost $52 million was billed but uncollected.</li> <li>These outstanding costs were incurred between July 1987 and December 2013.</li> </ul></li> <li>The department has made progress in resolving the accuracy of information related to projects with outstanding costs. However, it may extend the target completion dates for some tasks until June 2016.</li> <li>The department may not be able to recover all of its outstanding costs due to several factors--preliminary determinations indicated that the federal and state statutes of limitations have expired for 76 projects with a total of $13.4 million in outstanding costs.</li> <li>Despite updating its cost recovery procedures, we found several areas in which the department could better maximize its cost recovery efforts.</li> <li>The department has not consistently used some of its methods--such as issuing collection letters or recording liens on the properties of responsible parties to ensure that it maximizes cost recovery.</li> </ul> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT (California State Auditor Webmaster) Report 2014-501: State Lands Commission--Follow-Up Review The California State Auditor just released report 2014-501: State Lands Commission--Follow-Up Review. Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT (California State Auditor Webmaster) Report 2014-502: Commission on Teacher Credentialing--Follow-Up Review The California State Auditor just released report 2014-502: Commission on Teacher Credentialing--Follow-Up Review. Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT (California State Auditor Webmaster) Report 2013-126: Antelope Valley Water Rates: Various Factors Contribute to Differences Among Water Utilities <p>Our audit concerning Antelope Valley water rates revealed the following:</p> <ul> <li>Of the four water utilities we reviewed--Los Angeles County Waterworks, District 40 (LA District 40), Palmdale Water District (Palmdale), Quartz Hill Water District (Quartz Hill), and California Water Service Company (Cal Water)--water rates differed considerably based on the various costs they incur. <ul> <li>Cal Water, an investor-owned utility, incurs costs that government-owned utilities (public utilities) do not, which include property and franchise taxes.</li> <li>Public utilities--LA District 40, Palmdale, and Quartz Hill--receive revenues, primarily from property taxes, that help cover costs and contribute to lower rates.</li> <li>A utility's source of water contributes to cost variations.</li> </ul></li> <li>Processes are in place to protect consumers from unreasonable rate increases and each of the water utilities generally followed these processes.</li> <li>In some cases, the water utilities could not quantify their efforts to reduce water rates.</li> <li>Cal Water offers two rate assistance programs while the three public utilities do not offer discounts to their customers.</li> </ul> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:00:00 GMT (California State Auditor Webmaster)