Here are the recommendations (with the Blogster’s boldface) of the state DOA audit that were released today for the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years. But first, a statement from DOA Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky, who took over the helm this year with the new Malloy administration. He points out that indeed, the audit is for 2008 and 2009 and not the current year. “From my standpoint this gives us a nice punch list to work from,” he said in an interview. “I want to make sure the agency is fulfilling its responsibilities at the highest level possible. The Department of Agriculture is a relatively small agency and we have to do a better job of defining whose responsibilities belong to whom.” The department budget is about $20 million. “We need to dot the ‘i’s’ and cross the ‘t’s’ and we’re going to get the job done.” Reviczky said flood damage in the Connecticut, Farmington and Housatonic River valleys impacted crops in those areas. “The best thing people of Connecticut can do is show up at a farmers market or their local store and buy Connecticut Grown products,” he said.
Here is the audit excerpt:
“Current Audit Recommendations:
1. The Department should enter into written agreements with (Dpt of Administrative Services) that clearly define each agency’s roles and responsibilities.
The Department did not have written agreements in place with DAS to administer its human resources and business functions.
2. The Department should coordinate appropriate on-going ethics training programs for its employees and establish procedures that ensure employee participation in the programs.
We noted that the Department’s employees do not take part in any ongoing ethics training programs.
3. The Departments of Agriculture and Administrative Services should mutually perform the annual internal control self-evaluation and risk assessment in accordance with the Internal Control Guide issued by the State Comptroller.
Our review of the Department’s annual internal control self-evaluation for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009 noted that several of the action steps in the guide were not performed and/or documented. DAS completed the internal control questionnaire on behalf of the Department but did not prepare and/or document descriptions of the Department’s accounting systems and their related internal controls.
4. The Department should establish and implement internal controls that ensure receipts are deposited in accordance with Section 4-32 of the General Statutes. In addition, requests for waiver to the State Treasurer seeking exceptions to the depositing limitations should be based upon the actual time needed to process the deposits.
We noted 27 receipts totaling $26,769 that were deposited late. We also could not determine the receipt date of 18 receipts totaling $41,715 due to insufficient documentation and/or information. While the Bureau of Regulation and Inspection obtained two separate waivers to deposit receipts within four business days during the audited period, our current testing noted that several receipts were deposited beyond the four day waiver period.
5. The Department should establish and maintain receipts journals at locations receiving money.
We noted that the Department did not maintain receipt journals at several of its locations.
6. The Department should establish and implement internal controls that ensure receipt transactions are accurately and consistently coded.
Our review of receipt processing noted that transaction coding was not consistently applied and/or not always coded to the most appropriate receipt account.
7. The Connecticut Marketing Authority should establish and implement formalized records retention procedures that ensure records are adequately inventoried and secured.
Supporting documentation for several receipt transactions were not provided for our review.
8. The Department should ensure that accurate and complete information is obtained prior to calculating and distributing grant funds.
We noted that grant payments made to dairy farmers were calculated differently because incomplete information was used to calculate and issue initial payments.
9. The Department should adhere to state fiscal statutes on the use and transfer of appropriations.
We noted that the Department made an expenditure for membership dues from an appropriation established to make grant payments to state dairy farmers without obtaining prior approval to do so.
10. The Department should review its policies and procedures to administer the Farm Transition Program to determine whether established internal controls have been implemented in accordance with management’s objectives and adopt regulations in accordance with Section 22-26k(b) of the General Statutes.
We noted that the Department did not adhere to several terms and conditions contained in grant applications and agreements with grantees. Procedures for selecting grantees to fund did not include formalized and measurable criteria. The Department has yet to adopt regulations for the program.
11. The Department should establish a separate appropriation account to administer the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program.
We noted that the Department did not maintain a separate appropriation account for federal funds received and expended under the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program. Federal reimbursements received by the Department were accounted for in two state appropriation accounts as credits to expenditures expended under the state’s Farmland Preservation Program.
12. The Connecticut Marketing Authority should establish and implement administrative controls to ensure that required lease documents are obtained.
Our follow-up of 13 of 18 lease files identified in our prior audit as missing one or more lease requirements (fully executed contract, certificate of bond, certificate of insurance, and non-discrimination certifications) disclosed that nine of the 13 lease files were still missing one or more lease requirements.
13. The Bureau of Aquaculture should consider including late payment penalty and/or fee provisions in new leases and leases up for renewal.
We noted several lease payments that were received well after the due date of the lease payment. The bureau’s standard oyster grounds lease agreement does not have provisions for assessing late payment fees or penalties.
14. The Department should establish and implement administrative controls that ensure compensatory time granted is formally pre-approved and awarded for extra work considered to be significant.
Our review of compensatory time earned by three managers disclosed that 12 out of 25 compensatory time earned episodes were in durations of two hours or less. None of the 25 episodes received prior written authorization from the commissioner for the extra work performed.
15. The Department should ensure that periodic performance appraisals are performed on all of its employees.
We reviewed 10 employee personnel files for evidence that performance appraisals were performed. Our review noted that performance appraisals were not up-to-date for five of the 10 employees reviewed.
16 The Departments of Agriculture and Administrative Services should improve their internal control over asset accountability and reporting.
Our testing of the Departments of Agriculture and Administrative Services internal controls over asset accountability and reporting identified several assets that were not reported or incorrectly reported and annual inventory reports that did not reconcile to asset values reported in Core-CT.
17. The Departments of Agriculture and Administrative Services should ensure that lease revenue reported on GAAP forms is accurate.
Our review of GAAP forms prepared by the Department of Agriculture for lease revenues reported for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2008 and 2009 disclosed that future lease revenues were overstated by $65,972 and $105,392, respectively.
18. The Department should process reimbursements to the General Fund for expenses of the Animal Control Unit in a timely manner.
Reimbursements to the State General Fund for expenses of the Animal Control Unit were not made in a timely manner. Expenditures incurred in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007 were not reimbursed to the General Fund until September 19, 2008.
Auditors of Public Accounts