Sneak Preview: HDOE Response to Violations Deemed Insufficient

October 5, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following is excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service.) Although six state audits in 2009 revealed multiple findings across several agencies, the Hawaii Department of Education’s procurement practices were highly criticized in two of the 2009 audits and a recent follow-up audit has found that the agency has done little to address the recommendations.

At the request of the Hawaii state legislature, the Hawaii state auditor’s office recently reported on the progress of recommendations made in six SAO audits issued in 2009. Along with procurement issues at HDOE, the six audits also found concerns with strategic planning at the state Tourism Authority; the accountability structure at the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board; oversight of the state’s information technology; and procurement accountability at the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Of the 92 recommendations SAO made in the six 2009 audits, only 39 recommendations were implemented and deemed closed. Thirty-six recommendations were still open, while the rest were no longer applicable or were not assessed in the follow-up report. Of the remaining open recommendations, the Hawaii Department of Education’s findings were most compelling.

In its first audit of HDOE in 2009, SAO reviewed a sample of procurement transactions and found numerous occurrences of noncompliance with procurement laws and regulations. HDOE staff made about 20 purchasing card transactions in fiscal year 2007 that exceeded the $2,500 limit without proper approval, including transactions for prohibited items such as computers and travel coupons. Because this audit found such a high volume of violations and several risk factors of potential fraud, SAO said it was compelled to expand its scope of work.

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