2001 NLPES Impact Award Recipients

Arizona Department of Public Safety Scientific Analysis Bureau This audit found that the two units-DNA and toxicology-within the state's Scientific Analysis Bureau, or crime lab, were experiencing serious backlogs. The DNA unit had a backlog in the number of convicted offender samples that had been added to the DNA database program, greatly limiting its effectiveness. The toxicology unit had a backlog in the cases analyzed which, in some instances, hindered effective prosecution. The audit report contained 15 several recommendations designed to reduce the backlog in these units. The crime lab implemented these recommendations and the backlogs have been reduced. Dot Reinhard, Performance Audit Manager 
Office of the Auditor General 
2910 N. 44th Street, Suite 410 
Phoenix, Arizona 85018 
Colorado Colorado Preschool Program Department of Education, Performance Audit This audit of the state's preschool program found that the Department of Education had failed to meet its statutory authority to oversee this program. The audit also found that many local school districts were not meeting a statutory requirement to spend at least 95 percent of program funds on direct services to children. The department implemented the report's 17 recommendations to improve program oversight and financial accountability. The Legislature also considered four bills, three of which became law, to improve the department's accountability and expand its oversight role. J. David Barba, State Auditor 
Office of the State Auditor 
Legislative Services Building 
200 East 14th Avenue 
Denver, Colorado 80203-2211 
Florida Justification Review, Toll Operations Program, Florida Department of Transportation This report set out to identify ways to improve the Toll Operations Program's performance and reduce state costs. The report found that the program could realize additional savings by increasing its use of private contractors to provide toll collection services. The net savings resulting from implementation of the recommended changes was $1 million. John W. Turcotte, Director 
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability 
111 West Madison Street C Room 312 
Claude Pepper Building 
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475 
Georgia Sufficiency of the Hazardous Waste Trust Fund This report studied the sufficiency of the state's Hazardous Waste Trust Fund. This fund finances the investigation of hazardous waste sites to determine if corrective action is needed as well as the cleanup of these sites. As a result of the evaluation, the program revised the methodology for estimating the amount of funding needed for these activities. The revised methodology revealed that the fund had a shortfall of $188 million more than the program originally estimated. As a result of the evaluation, the state received a multi-million dollar credit from the Environmental Protection Agency and the program developed new performance measures. Russell W. Hinton, State Auditor 
Department of Audits and Accounts 
254 Washington Street, S.W. C Suite 214 
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-8400 
Hawaii Actuarial Study and Operational Audit of the Hawaii Public Employees Health Fund The Hawaii Public Employees Health Fund provides health and group life insurance benefits to active and retired state and county employees and their dependents. The fund is managed by a nine-member Board of Trustees. The audit found several problems with the board's management of the fund, including failure to ensure that the fund's reserves were being properly managed, ineffective rate stabilization efforts, and failure to return excess reserves to employees. The Legislature adopted two bills responding to issues raised in the audit. One established an employer union trust structure consolidating all union and health fund plans under one structure. The second, which applied only to new hires, made changes in health benefits available at retirement.  Marion M. Higa, State Auditor 
Office of the Auditor 
465 S. King Street, Room 500 
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-2917 
Illinois Department of Public Aid=s Child Support State Disbursement Unit This audit came about because of drastic problems that occurred when Illinois attempted to implement the federally required child support State Disbursement Unit. Legislators requested the audit to find out why creation of this unit had been so problematic. The audit identified a lack of sufficient planning and preparation before the system was implemented as a significant part of the problem and made 15 recommendations to improve the system. A follow-up report showed the nine of these had been at least partially implemented. An amendment to pending legislation would require full compliance with all the recommendations. William G. Holland, Auditor General 
Office of the Auditor General 
Iles Park Plaza 
740 East Ash 
Springfield, Illinois 62703-3154 
Kansas Reviewing the Implementation of the Mental Health Reform Act This audit reviewed the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services' implementation of the Mental Health Reform Act, under which the state's psychiatric hospital beds were reduced and community mental health services were increased. The audit found that all clients may not have been getting the services they needed, that the department's method of distributing grants resulted in unequal allocations, and that the state was eligible for as much as $48 million in additional federal funds. The department has addressed many of the audit's recommendations and, in response to the audit, released a new mental health policy initiative. Rick Riggs, Administrative Auditor 
Legislative Division of Post Audit 
Mercantile Bank Tower 
800 Southwest Jackson St., Suite 1200 
Topeka, Kansas 66612-2212 
Michigan Performance and Financial Related Audit of the Child Development and Care Program, Family Independence Agency The Child Development and Care Program provides financial assistance to eligible families for child care services. The audit found that the program often did not comply with federal or state statutes, regulations, rules, and policies and procedures for the distribution of child care funds. Additionally, the audit found that more than 2,500 of the program's child care providers were ineligible to participate in the program-most were ineligible because they had been found to be perpetrators of child abuse and were listed on the state's child abuse registry. Following the audit, the program matched its database with the child abuse registry and subsequently removed 2,954 names from its list of eligible care providers. The program has also implemented the audit's other recommendations. Thomas H. McTavish, Auditor General 
Office of the Auditor General 
201 N. Washington Square, 6th Floor 
Lansing, Michigan 48913 
Minnesota Fire Services: A Best Practices Review This report provided information to Minnesota's 790 local fire departments on effective and efficient fire services. It allowed fire officials to review their operations and compare their departments with established performance standards. In response to a follow-up survey, 69% of fire chiefs said the report encouraged them to review their department's practices and 26% said they had made changes because of the report. The report has received strong ongoing interest from fire associations and other interested groups. Jody Hauer, Project Manager 
Office of the Legislative Auditor 
Room 140 Centennial Building 
658 Cedar Street 
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Mississippi The Mississippi Department of Transportation=s Administration of the 1987 Four Lane and Gaming Roads Programs The report identified causes of the significant cost overruns and delays in two highway construction projects. Original cost estimates excluded the costs of bridges, interchanges, inflation, and rehabilitation of existing lanes, and cost projections underestimated inflation. Also, the department's priority of road segments may not represent current needs. The Legislature enacted provisions to implement the report's recommendations, primarily those designed to improve the management and oversight of project costs. James A. Barber, Deputy Director 
Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) 
Post Office Box 1204 
Jackson, Mississippi 39215-1204 
Montana Microbusiness Finance Program The report identified significant weaknesses in a program that provided loans to small businesses. Its loans had high delinquency rates (20%), there was reduced loan activity in some areas, and the program was not self-sustaining as intended. Lending procedures were weak and the program did not have adequate outcome measures. As a result of the audit, a previously unopposed appropriation of $2.5 million to the program was tabled. Jim Pellegrini, Deputy Legislative Auditor 
Legislative Audit Division 
Room 160 State Capitol 
PO Box 201705 
Helena, Montana 59620-1705 
Texas An Audit Report on the Department of Economic Development The audit reported on gross fiscal mismanagement in a program in which employers contracted with the state to train employees. Loopholes in the department's contracts allowed employers to be paid even if they did not meet training requirements. Also, the department had not complied with laws requiring it to transfer excess program funds to the State's Unemployment Compensation Fund. As a result of the audit, the department was compelled to transfer $93 million to the fund and the State avoided imposing a tax on the state's employers. Also, the legislature barred the department from awarding new contracts and asked the Auditor's Office to assist in monitoring the implementation of a corrective action plan.  Craig Kinton, Director 
State Auditor's Office 
Robert E. Johnson Bldg. 
1501 North Congress Avenue, Suite 4224 
Austin, Texas 78701 
Utah A Performance Audit of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District This audit of a quasi-governmental organization was responsible for the district's funds being invested for greater return. The audit also identified that the district had overtaxed citizens, which resulted in a revised taxing plan. The audit also questioned the district's plan for an irrigation project and suggested alternatives for the water's use. The district cancelled the planned project and is exploring other options. Wayne L. Welsh, Auditor General 
Office of the Legislative Auditor General 
130 State Capitol Building 
PO Box 140151 
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-0151 
Virginia Virginia's Medicaid Reimbursement to Nursing Facilities This study found that certain parts of Virginia's Medicaid reimbursement methodology had not been adequately updated and appeared to be excessively restrictive. As a result, the quality of care tended to be lower in for-profit nursing facilities with a high proportion of Medicaid residents. The General Assembly increased funding by $28 million and directed that the entire funding increase be targeted to reimbursing direct care costs, a key recommendation of the report. Philip A. Leone, Director 
Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission 
Suite 1100, General Assembly Building, Capitol Square 
Richmond, Virginia 23219 
Washington Mental Health System Performance Audit The audit found that mental health services to clients were not well-coordinated with other human services, that system accountability activities were burdensome and focused on processes rather than outcomes of care, and the inequities in the allocation of funding among various regions of the state led to inequities in services. The Legislature passed bills requiring implementation of the report's recommendations, and the department developed a new funding methodology consistent with the audit recommendations. Tom Sykes, Legislative Auditor 
Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) 
506 16th Avenue SE 
Olympia, WA 98501-2323 
Wyoming Wyoming State Archives This report found that despite the explosion in electronic records, the department had maintained its focus on the traditional paper record environment. In response to recommendations that the department re-evaluate its practices, the agency took steps to collaborate with other records management entities, worked to eliminate duplication of records and transferred materials to other agencies, contracted with a national expert on electronic management issues, and surveyed other states to assess best practices in electronic records management.  Barbara J. Rogers, Program Evaluation Manager 
Legislative Service Office 
213 State Capitol 
Cheyenne, WY 82002