Thursday, August 30, 2012

 

Audit: Hawaii Sheriff’s Division keeping $383,000 of equipment off-inventory


by Larry Geller

Each year, Hawaii is required to contract with an independent auditor to review financial statements of any government organization that expends more than $500,000 in federal funds. This is called the Single Audit. In Hawaii, this job seems to go to Deliotte & Touch LLC. If you have the patience, wading through these can reveal tiny nuggets of gold, but like panning for gold, it’s quite a bit of work.

I also found that if I just can’t fall asleep, hauling out one of these will do the trick. Seriously. I used to read special ed lawsuits, but this is more effective and has fewer side effects (anger, despair, frustration).

Today I started on the 2010 Hawaii Single Audit. As an example of what can be discovered, check this out (page 225). Where else could we learn that the Sheriff’s department has been stockpiling equipment off the books?

To streamline the purchasing process, Civil Defense implemented a central electronic purchasing system called Fisher Safety (“Fisher”). Although Fisher is no longer used for new contracts, in the current year, there were transactions through Fisher for contracts initiated in prior years. By utilizing Fisher, the PSD no longer has to physically issue a check for purchases; instead, the funds are paid directly by Civil Defense after being provided evidence of delivery from the Sheriff’s Division. During our audit, we noted that the purchases of approximately $383,000 were not recorded, and the related equipment received was not tagged or entered into the inventory system for tracking as required by state and Federal guidelines.

The audit appears to note that this stuff has been hidden, but does not ask for an accounting of it. It’s not clear whether the $383,000 represents a single large purchase, for example, or a number of smaller purchases.

So this would be just the beginning of a thread of inquiry. A next step might be to fill out a UIPA request to the Sheriff asking what that stuff is. Of course, the answer could be totally uninteresting, or it could be a stockpile of weapons intended for use against APEC protesters. It could be a whole lot of electric stapling machines and dictaphones (not bloody likely) or sonic crowd control equipment.

Perhaps there’s more. That revelation was on only the second page I randomly clicked on.  I’m still digging through the reports.



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