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 user 2007-08-29 at 12:39:00 pm Views: 38
  • #18656

    wasteful spending at L.A.’s Children and Family Services
    08/2007LOS ANGELES—The county agency overseeing children’s services has misspent millions of dollars on unnecessary and overpriced office supplies and can’t account for all its equipment, according to an audit.Auditors noted more than a dozen deficiencies in procurement operations at the Department of Children and Family Services, and said slack management oversight may have resulted in misappropriations of funds and property.The Office of Investigations is studying whether any fraudulent activities took place and officials said they expect an undisclosed number of employees to be fired or disciplined, the Los Angeles Daily News reported Wednesday.”It’s highly unusual for a department to have violated this many policies,” said Auditor-Controller Tyler McCauley.The audit said the procurement department violated county policies in purchasing and maintaining inventory of everything from printer cartridges and gift cards to computer flash cards and file cabinets.

    The department, for example, purchased $1.4 million worth of gift cards in July 2005, but officials could not provide auditors with documents to support $115,000 of $700,000 in gift-card purchases.”Consequently, we could not verify that all gift cards were used for appropriate purposes,” auditors wrote.
    The audit also said more than 70 percent of toner cartridges purchased in June 2006 were expected to expire and may not be usable because too many were ordered at a time.Auditors also noted the agency paid 15 percent more per cartridge on a follow-up order later in the month that also wasn’t needed.
    Agency Chief Deputy Director Susan Kerr, who started last October, requested the audit after receiving reports about problems in the Procurement and Forms Management Section, which is responsible for spending $177 million on services and supplies.”We have been reacting very quickly,” Kerr said.Tony Bell, spokesman for Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, said that while the audit is disconcerting, Antonovich believes that DCFS Director Trish Ploehn has shown leadership in the matter.”We understand there will be a number of firings and disciplinary actions taken,” Bell said.

    County making the right move ?
     08//2007LOS Angeles County’s controls over spending in its various departments could be likened to a great steel sieve – things that go in usually end up slipping right out.Case in point is the revelation earlier this month that the Department of Children and Family Services’ procurement system was so out of control that it had managed to spend $800,000 on printer toner cartridges in one month.Then there was the mismanagement by Sheriff Lee Baca of the relocation of a special forces bureau in which spending policies were not followed.And that’s just the past two weeks.The County Board of Supervisors last week finally called for an end to the sieve-like action and ordered a review of county spending. It’s not a moment too soon, as county officials have been worried for years about the toll of fraud and simple waste as part of the county procurement system.