New Audit Finds State Spending Millions With Little To Show For Investment

October 7, 2016

October 7, 2016


Since taking office, State Auditor Doug Hoffer and his staff have been shining a spotlight on wasteful State spending, as well as the State’s failure to provide private contract checks and balances and instances where the State is failing to collect millions of what it is owed. VTDigger reported last week on the office’s latest audit, which found that nonprofit organization VITL (Vermont Information Technology Leaders) “has spent $38 million in state and federal money setting up a statewide system of electronic medical records, but officials can’t determine whether the project has been successful.”

“The audits being released just this year raise a lot of questions for VSEA members, especially because state employees are the ones constantly being asked by elected officials and lawmakers to defend their services when there is a budget deficit—which is every year anymore,” explains VSEA Communications Director Doug Gibson. “If it’s been found that Vermont is not collecting—or accounting for—tens of millions of dollars, then maybe instead of cutting services and state employee jobs, how about our elected officials and lawmakers start looking at ways to ensure the millions in lost dollars identified by the Auditor’s office start going into Vermont’s coffers.” Gibson notes that just $1.5 million of the $38 million figure cited in the Auditor’s latest report would have saved the State’s Risk Management Division and the office’s dozen seasoned state employees, whose jobs were privatized last session to save the State money.

Here are some of this year’s audits that identify where the State is losing millions, or where the State has failed to account for millions:

  • October 2016 – State pays private contractor VITL $38 million, but whether or not this was money well spent cannot be determined;
  • September 2016 – Nearly $1.8 million is owed to DCF due to fraud committed by beneficiaries between January 2013 and April 2016;
  • April 2016 – The Tax Department collected just half of all delinquent income taxes in 2013 and 2014. The audit found that $12.9 million of the $22.5 million owed was collected. An additional $7.2 million in other accounts was also still owed, as of July 2016; and
  • January 2016 – Judiciary is collecting less than a third of the $3.1 million in court-ordered assessments for public defender services due between January 2012 and December 2014.

Other recent audits worth note include:

  • July 2016 – Audit finds that even with statutory and contractual language mandating annual employee evaluations by State managers, only a very few employees working for the Departments of Information and Innovation, Finance and Management and Human Resources are receiving an evaluation. Some say it’s been years and others never at all; and
  • December 2015 – Audit finds that even though the State has required a competitive bidding process when contracting with private vendors for more than 20 years, it’s “commonplace” for the State to award “sole-source” (a.k.a. “no-bid”) contracts. The total amount awarded through no-bid contracts for 2015 was $68 million, or 27 percent of all.

Note: Please remember to ask your elected officials and local lawmakers what steps are being taken to address the deficiencies identified by the Auditor’s office.

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