Gov. looks to fix major problems found by auditors
Gov. Brian Sandoval returned from his holiday break to face a series of highly critical audits exposing major problems in the Department of Corrections, DMV and Adult Mental Health Services.
His own Executive Branch Audit Committee told him the Department of Corrections overtime has spiraled out of control and, after just seven months of the new biennium, was $15 million over budget.
Legislative auditors told him conditions in community-based homes for the mentally ill in both north and south were disgusting forcing residents to live in squalor despite promises made more than a year ago the division would fix that situation.
And Executive Auditors said the $75 million contract to completely update the Department of Motor Vehicles’ computer systems has run off the rails and is now way behind schedule.
Chief of Staff Mike Willden said Monday the Governor’s Office is moving fast on all three fronts and plans to use short term emergency regulations to implement corrective plans immediately.
“By the end of the week we plan to at least have plans going forward on these,” he said.
Community Based homes
Conditions in nearly all the Community-Based Living homes were described by auditors as disgusting with numerous health and safety violations.
They pointed to leaking toilets, filthy bathrooms and kitchens, improper security for medicines and spoiled food among other issues.
“They re-inspected all 107 homes over the weekend,” said Willden.
The good news, he said, is “there were not any in imminent jeopardy that needed to be closed down.”
Willden said some changes have already been made. Amy Roukie, administrator of the Community-Based Living Arrangement program has resigned and is no longer in charge. He said the key reason for her departure was she “provided false testimony to the Legislature.” He said conduct of other employees in Adult Mental Health Services, is also being examined and there could be further disciplinary action taken.
He said, a plan of action to fix the situation was due on his desk by Monday afternoon.
Department of Corrections
Auditors found overtime in the Department of Corrections had increased by more than 30 percent a year since 2015 despite the fact Sandoval and lawmakers approved hiring 125 more correctional officers to reduce overtime demands.
Sandoval said the department is on track for a $22 million shortfall in just the first year of the biennium.
“Where is the state supposed to find that money because it will completely deplete the contingency fund?” he asked.
Willden said the department has to have a plan of action to get overtime under control to the governor by Wednesday.
To make sure something gets done, he said, his top assistant Andrew Clinger will head a team consisting of one of the executive branch auditors and an analyst from the Finance Office that will be “embedded” at Corrections.
He said some of the problems exposed by the audit include officers taking annual leave or sick leave then claiming overtime on the same day. He said those sorts of practices aren’t allowed in most agencies.
DMV Computer System
When Tech Mahindra was awarded a $75 million contract in 2016 to replace and upgrade the DMV’s computer systems, the company promised to put its top tech-team with extensive experience in database development on the project. But auditors were critical of the company saying only six of the promised 25 “top experts” had been reassigned and relocated to Nevada. They said the project was months behind schedule because the company grossly under-staffed it.
The contract is being paid for by a $1 technology fee imposed on all DMV transactions, expected to generate some $114 million. The contract is needed because DMV’s existing computer system runs on an inefficient combination of computer programs no longer in commercial use.
Not only the company but DMV took some heat from auditors who said the department failed to impose binding due dates for different steps in developing the project.
Willden said the governor’s office is looking into what to do to get that project back on track.
No plan of action had been announced as of Monday but Willden said there would be an answer this week.