Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Rogue agency: The State Procurement Office refuses to meet with State Auditor
by Larry Geller
Hawaii’s state legislature directs the activities of the State Auditor, and in 2008 mandated that the Auditor follow up to see if its recommendations are being implemented. A report posted today indicates that the State Procurment Office has refused to comply with a statutorily required review process.
The objective was a review of how they carry out “small purchases” without purchase orders or invoices—something that should be closely watched, you’d think.
The 2008 Legislature amended the Auditor’s governing statute to require follow-up reporting on recommendations made in various audit reports to ensure agency accountability over audit recommendations. The purpose of this change was to apprise the Legislature annually of recommendations not implemented by audited agencies, and to require such agencies to submit a written report not later than 30 days afer issuance of our report explaining why the recommendation was not implemented and the estimated date of its implementation.
One section of the report should trouble legislators and perhaps merits a legislative investigation (assuming that those are not confined only to UH sports issues). It appears that the State Procurement Office has refused to let the Auditor do her work, refusing to meet with her.
Here is a snip from the summary section of today’s report (emphasis in original)
Program and Management Audit of the State’s Purchasing Card
Program, Report No. 10-05
Our 2010 report found the State Procurement Office (SPO) took a hands-off approach to administering the pCard Program by delegating significant responsibilities to executive agencies and failed to establish meaningful performance goals for the program. We concluded that this approach prevented the SPO from fully realizing the pCard Program’s potential. Requests by our office to meet with the SPO to conduct our follow-up were not granted. As a result, we were unable to verify or clarify agency claims in relating to implementation of our recommendations.
What is the pCard program? It appears to be a way for the State to buy stuff on a “credit card:”
The pCard Program is intended to simplify the State’s small purchase operations and reduce the administrative burden associated with issuing purchase orders and processing invoices for payment without sacrificing controls.
Whatever the Auditor’s concerns, major or minor, since taxpayer money is involved, it raises a red flag that they spurned review by the Auditor. The Legislature should take the refusal to heart lest other agencies decide to follow suit.