Audits in the News: February

Audits in the News: ODFW lacks a long-term strategy and TSPC must overcome backlogs to improve its services.

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

 

Our first audit of the new year found that Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife was in need of a comprehensive management strategy that included a long-term plan for how to sustain operations.

You can read the complete audit here.

Oregon Public Broadcasting – Audit Suggests ODFW Lacks Long-Term Strategy

Read the story here.

“The state agency that manages hunting and fishing in Oregon is lacking a long-term strategy according to an audit by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office released Thursday. The audit says the Oregon Department Of Fish And Wildlife, known as ODFW, has a recurring cash flow problem. The agency has managed to stay afloat by reducing staff, raising fees, and delaying maintenance on facilities such as fish hatcheries.”

The Bend Bulletin– Struggling ODFW may target birders, wildlife viewers for revenue

Read the story here.

“ODFW has been beset by what some hunters and anglers say is a vicious cycle of the agency raising the cost of licenses to hunt and fish, which they say leads to fewer people buying licenses. That decline then leads to budget woes for the department, they say. A recent audit by the Secretary of State’s office also paints a dire picture for the long-term sustainability of the top conservation agency in Oregon as its costs rise much faster than revenues.”


 

The Audits Division also released an audit of the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. The audit found that, despite recent improvements in service to educators, the agency was still facing a substantial backlog in issuing licenses, investigating complaints and responding to educator questions.

You can read the complete audit here.

The Oregonian/OregonLive – Oregon teacher licenses: Audit finds long delays, poisonous relationships – but recent improvements

Read the story here.

“Months-long delays and poor customer service have been hallmarks of Oregon’s teacher licensing agency for years. Both are improving, thanks to beefed-up staffing and a new online licensing system that is replacing an archaic one. But problems remain, due largely to nonexistent performance expectations for managers and front-line employees, and botched communications with staffers and the public. These are among the findings of a top-to-bottom audit of Oregon’s Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, released Thursday.

The Portland Tribune – Audit finds serious backlogs at teacher licensing agency

Read the story here.

“Mismanagement, outdated technology and staffing shortages at the state’s teacher licensing agency have resulted in four-month-long waits for teacher licenses, years-long investigations into teacher misconduct and poor morale, according to an audit by the Secretary of State’s Office.”

The Statesman Journal – Commission needs to make improvements, audit determines

Read the story here.

“Oregon’s Teacher Standards and Practices Commission needs to improve its work environment and increase accountability to address substantial delays in its core services for educators, an audit released Thursday by Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins said.”

KTVZ TV – Audit: Teacher licensing board taking too long to resolve cases

Read the story here.

“The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission needs to improve its work environment and increase accountability to address substantial delays in its core services for teachers and other educators, according to an audit released Thursday by Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins.”

Audits in the News Featured

Audits in the News: January

Audits in the News: Oregon State Police crime lab audit earns coverage in statewide media.

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

Despite two holidays coming and going since our last “Audits in the News” blog post, the division has had a busy few weeks!

The division released its performance audit on the Oregon State Police’s Forensic Services Division, whose five labs and 127 employees are responsible for the bulk of forensic testing among Oregon law enforcement. The audit found that the division was struggling with an enormous backlog, which has only increased over the last decade.

You can read the complete audit here.

Statesman Journal – State finds huge spike in crime lab backlog

Read the story here.

“The backlog at Oregon crime labs has increased 90 percent since 2005, according to an audit from the Oregon Secretary of State, released Tuesday. Overall testing demand has grown more than 30 percent. DNA and fingerprint testing make up the majority of the backlog.”

Portland Tribune – Audit: Increased demand swamps state forensic testing lab

Read the story here.

“A backlog of untested forensic evidence at Oregon State Police laboratories has ballooned by 90 percent in the past decade, fueled by increased demand, inefficient practices and staff shortages and vacancies, according to a secretary of state audit.

The Oregonian – State crime lab’s backlog of untested evidence nearly doubled in last decade, audit finds

Read the story here.

“The backlog of untested evidence in Oregon’s state crime lab has nearly doubled in the past decade, with 3,700 pieces of evidence submitted by police agencies as of January 2015 that were awaiting analysis for more than 30 days … The lab’s workload has increased substantially during the past 10 years, while its staffing levels have not. During that time, some lab director and analyst positions were vacant, and several staff were on family leave or in training, contributing to the delays in analysis, according to a state audit released Tuesday.

Bend Bulletin – Crime lab audit warns of growing backlog

Read the story here.

“An audit of Oregon State Police crime labs points to a growing backlog of evidence waiting to be tested. Auditors with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office found it takes an average of 65 days to complete testing on a submitted piece of evidence, while the number of cases in which it takes at least 30 days to complete testing has jumped 90 percent since 2005.”

Oregon Public Broadcasting – Audit: Oregon State Crime Labs Should Plan For Rising Caseload

Read the story here.

A new audit by the Secretary of State found that due to inefficiencies and inadequate staffing, it takes the Oregon State Police forensics division 65 days on average to analyze evidence like fingerprints and DNA. That’s twice as long as the industry standard for timely service, according to the new audit.”

Two other audits that were recently released, which included the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Employment Department, will be featured in next month’s roundup.
Audits in the News Featured

Audits in the News: Week of Dec. 7

Audits in the News: The division’s fraud hotline is featured in The Daily Astorian.

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

In addition to our audits, the division is responsible for the Secretary of State’s government waste, fraud and abuse hotline. The hotline accepts anonymous calls and complaints from citizens and investigates instances in which waste or abuse of resources — or downright fraud — may be occurring within state government. Recently, our hotline received a little media coverage of its own.

The Daily Astorian – Calls to government waste hotline at a five-year high

Read the story here.

“As of Nov. 10, the agency had received 235 complaints, according to audit manager V. Dale Bond at the Secretary of State’s Audits Division. Employees still have to go back to remove any duplicate complaints, but the highest number of complaints in the last five years was 184 complaints in 2010, according to an email from Bond. The lowest number of complaints during that period was 145 complaints in 2012.”

Photo: © Kornwa | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Audits in the News Featured Fraud Investigation

Audits in the News: Nov. 23

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

As previously announced, division director Gary Blackmer is retiring next month after 30 years of auditing at the city, county and state levels. Gary was featured in an interview and article in Governing magazine, where he reflected on his career and shared some insights learned from decades of auditing experience.

Audits in the News Featured Noteworthy

Audits in the News: Oct. 12

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

The Oregon Audits Division recently released its audit of Oregon’s debt collection practices, which found that liquidated and delinquent debts owed to the state have nearly doubled since 2008. You can read the full audit here.

The audit was talking some big dollar figures, leading several media outlets to jump on the story.

KTVZ – Audit: State debt collection falls short, $ owed nearly double

Read the story here.

 

“Liquidated and delinquent debts owed to the state of Oregon have almost doubled since 2008, to nearly $3.2 billion, and the state needs a sustained focus to improve collections performance over time, a new audit released Tuesday by Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins found. “

Oregon Public Broadcasting – Oregon’s Delinquent Debts Double Since 2008

Read and listen to the story here.

“Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins says collection rates on the debt have also dropped, from 13 percent to 11 percent.  “The state’s debt collection system needs leadership, it needs sustained focus and accountability to assure Oregonians that the state isn’t squandering opportunities to collect funds owed essentially to tax payers,” she said…. The audit recommends that one agency, the Department of Administrative Services, oversee collections instead. It would set policy and require departments to report their success rates.”

Audits in the News Featured Performance Audit

Audits in the News: Sept. 28

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

The Oregon Audits Division recently released its audit of the Oregon State Hospital, which found that management has taken significant action to improve safety and patient care, both for the patients and staff. However, more action is still needed to continue improvements and promote patient recovery. You can read the full audit here.

Our last blog post had several stories from media who reported on the audit, but more have been published since.

Willamette Week – Nursing Staff at Oregon State Hospital Face Rise in Patient Violence

Read the story here.

An audit released this month says that staff at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem are coping with increased violence from mentally ill patients.

Aggressive events, which are logged electronically by OSH, rose from 701 in 2013 to 822 in 2014, according to Sandy Hilton, who managed the audit.”

Audits in the News Featured

Audits in the News: Sept. 14

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

The Oregon Audits Division recently released its audit of the Oregon State Hospital, which found that management has taken significant action to improve safety and patient care, both for the patients and staff. However, more action is still needed to continue improvements and promote patient recovery. You can read the full audit here.

The hard work of the audit team did not go unnoticed, with several media outlets picking up the story.

KTVZ – Ore. State Hospital audit: Much progress, much more to do

Read the story here.

“The Oregon State Hospital has made progress during a decade of change, but more can be done to improve mental health treatment, staff safety and fatigue, and the electronic records system, according to an audit released Wednesday by the secretary of state’s office.

KLCC  Audit Finds More Can Be Done To Improve State Hospital

Read the story here.

“The Oregon State Psychiatric Hospital has made progress during a decade of change. But more can be done to improve mental health treatment and staff safety. That’s according to a recent audit by the Secretary of State’s office.”

Older audits are continuing to receive media attention, too. Our audit of the Oregon Lottery found that a lack of clarity in the law about what constitutes a “casino” is allowing several retailers to operate as such, receiving most of their income from video gambling machines.

Portland Tribune  Our Opinion: State needs to enforce own lottery laws

Read the story here.

“State lawmakers must look for ways to eliminate some of the dens of addiction that the current Oregon Lottery supports. If necessary, lawmakers should consider adding to state statute further limitations on the number of lottery terminals allowed in certain retail locations … A secretary of state audit released last week concluded that the Oregon Lottery might be allowing lottery cafes to operate as casinos, even though the Oregon Constitution bans casinos on nontribal lands.

Additionally, the Audits Division looked into the Oregon Department of Energy’s tax credit programs in response to a hotline call. Read our letter to the agency here.

Albany Democrat-Herald  Editorial: Tax-credit mess has lessons for governor

Read the story here.

“Gov. Kate Brown’s decision to take a hard look at how the Oregon Department of Energy is managing the state’s energy tax credit program is welcome, but overdue, considering the program’s troubled history. The results of the review will be fascinating — and the governor needs to emphasize transparency at every step in the process.

Brown’s call came in the wake of an audit from the Secretary of State’s office that concluded, among other findings, that the Energy Department appeared to be violating its own administrative rules (and the Legislature’s intent) by allowing recipients of energy tax credits to sell them to third parties at steep discounts.”

Auditors at Work Audits in the News Featured Noteworthy