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Audit: Oregon state agencies need more spending oversight

A secretary of state audit says Oregon state agencies need more oversight of their spending and the state needs to bolster efforts to make information more transparent to the public.

Posted: Aug 1, 2019 12:03 PM
Updated: Aug 1, 2019 12:19 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A secretary of state audit says Oregon state agencies need more oversight of their spending and the state needs to bolster efforts to make information more transparent to the public.

The Statesman Journal reports the audit, released Wednesday, found potentially wasteful spending of tax dollars, shortcomings in the state's transparency website and the failure of a new $21 million system to identify double-filled positions in the state's workforce.

Secretary of State Bev Clarno's statement:

“Legislators and the public need to know how agencies use taxpayer dollars. As the administrative function for the state, DAS’s oversight of and guidance to agencies can help enhance the quality and availability of this information. I believe these 16 recommendations will help enhance Oregon’s transparency efforts.”

While we sincerely appreciate the cooperation extended by DAS during the audit, government auditing standards require a response when an audited entity’s comments are inconsistent or in conflict with the findings, conclusions, or recommendations in the report. We have included a rebuttal to the agency’s response at the end of our report, which is intended to provide additional information and context for citizens and stakeholders.

Auditors provided their findings to the Department of Administrative Services, which oversees the execution of the state budget throughout state agencies and is responsible for Oregon's transparency website.

However, the audit's 16 recommendations weren't unanimously embraced by the department.

Administrative Services officials offered no agreement or disagreement on two of the audit's recommendations and only partially agreement on two others, which include enacting budget policy changes.

The department's response drew a rebuke in the Secretary of State report, which said a partial agreement is not an option and "clouds accountability and transparency."

"Our audit response stands on its own," Department of Administrative Services spokeswoman Liz Craig said in an email. She said agency officials look forward to working with the Secretary of State's staff and putting the agreed-upon recommendations in place.

The audit found state agencies do more discretionary spending toward the end of the two-year budget cycle. Agencies lose unspent dollars when the new budget cycle starts.

Some agency budget directors told auditors they were concerned that high amounts of unspent funding would lead to budget cuts. But they also told auditors that the end of budget cycle spending is a sign of good management practices.

Auditors were concerned that a rush to spend funding may lead to a lack of properly vetting spending decisions, including complex information technology needs.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 195884

Reported Deaths: 2590
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah38744593
Washington25768233
Marion22259309
Clackamas17723214
Lane13154149
Jackson10959141
Deschutes920075
Umatilla823684
Linn503468
Yamhill450376
Klamath449464
Polk379453
Malheur353063
Josephine337271
Douglas330971
Benton313320
Jefferson222237
Coos209835
Columbia176029
Union145123
Lincoln138921
Wasco138428
Hood River119631
Crook114022
Morrow111316
Clatsop9958
Baker96014
Tillamook6523
Curry64710
Grant5236
Lake4557
Harney3498
Wallowa1855
Gilliam631
Sherman581
Wheeler321
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 3769827

Reported Deaths: 62699
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123756124120
Riverside2997934594
San Bernardino2972614724
San Diego2791453742
Orange2712965031
Santa Clara1190982098
Kern1093201376
Sacramento1051641693
Fresno1019871690
Alameda881571668
Ventura811021017
San Joaquin733101394
Contra Costa68976805
Stanislaus623101061
Tulare49830840
Monterey43662382
San Mateo42063570
San Francisco36808546
Santa Barbara34391459
Solano33011253
Merced31919461
Sonoma30071321
Imperial28516729
Kings23017246
Placer22720293
San Luis Obispo21308260
Madera16483242
Santa Cruz16275206
Marin14079227
Yolo13938211
Shasta12175226
Butte12140192
El Dorado10193113
Napa989182
Sutter9445113
Yuba628549
San Benito607463
Lassen570624
Tehama559063
Nevada475575
Tuolumne413967
Humboldt413542
Mendocino412749
Amador366747
Lake348943
Glenn240125
Siskiyou225525
Colusa223616
Calaveras213654
Inyo142838
Del Norte13988
Mono12844
Plumas7186
Modoc5014
Mariposa4507
Trinity4025
Sierra1120
Alpine880
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